Columbus — The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 overturning over 50 years of precedent in Roe and Casey, according to today’s new decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. While the ruling applies to the 15-week abortion ban from Mississippi, this ruling from the high court returns the power to the state level to decide whether a person can legally obtain an abortion. The decision does not have an immediate impact on the availability of abortion in Ohio.
Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “The most important thing that Ohioans need to know today is that abortion is still legal in Ohio. There are nine clinics across the state and several in neighboring states that can safely and legally provide abortion care for patients. Today’s ruling is devastating, but it is not the end.
“If you want to know who’s to blame for this attack on our basic human rights, look at Governor Mike DeWine and members of the Republican Party. They have spent decades methodically passing legislation and litigating cases to dismantle Roe v. Wade and destroy protections for our bodily autonomy, access to abortion, contraception, and comprehensive sex education. In Ohio, they gerrymandered their way into power, and have defied the Ohio Constitution, the Supreme Court of Ohio, and the majority of Ohio voters in a desperate attempt to hold onto that power. They intend to rule Ohioans, not represent us. We must not submit to that tyranny.
“Mike DeWine, Dave Yost, and Republicans in the Ohio Legislature are doing everything in their power to ban all abortions with no exceptions. If they succeed, it will have a disproportionately harmful impact on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, the young, people with disabilities, LGBTQ and non-binary people, as well as those living in Appalachia and other rural communities. But make no mistake, it will touch all of us. Though some people may be able to travel out of state to access care, and others may be able access medications to safely manage their own abortions at home, others will not be so lucky. What will happen to the person who has to continue a pregnancy against their will? Or the person who has a serious pregnancy complication in Ohio and it is not legal for their doctor to save them? People have already faced criminal investigations for miscarriages. And what about people who are struggling with infertility when In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is no longer available in our state?
“Pro-Choice Ohio and our allies have fought, and will continue to fight, to keep abortion legal and accessible as long as possible, for as many as possible. We will fight to protect those who need abortion care, and those who provide that care from criminalization. We will never forsake them. The only strategy we are not willing to consider is surrender. We are the majority. We will prevail.”
Today, a coalition of state-based groups working to protect abortion access announced its support for Supreme Court expansion because “the fight to protect abortion rights must include the fight to expand the Supreme Court.”
The groups announcing their support today include:
Pro-Choice North Carolina
Reproductive Equity Now (Massachusetts)
“The critical work of litigating cases to keep clinics open, and securing proactive legislation to expand abortion access, depends on having a judiciary that acts with integrity, in good faith, and in allegiance to the law. But that’s not our reality…” the groups said in a joint statement. “[L]egislation to safeguard abortion access is critical, but not enough. We also need a Court that won’t overturn that legislation. It’s time for every elected official who supports reproductive rights to join us in support of Court expansion.”
“Reproductive rights advocates in states across this country are working tirelessly to protect safe and equitable abortion care for pregnant Americans,” said Senator Ed Markey. “That these advocates would have to prepare for the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey at a time when dozens of state governments conspire to enforce unjust bans on abortion is a tragedy. We must do our part in Washington by passing the Judiciary Act to expand the Supreme Court and restore the American people’s faith in our nation’s highest court so that our fundamental rights are no longer in the hands of an illegitimate, far-right majority.”
“I’m proud to support reproductive rights advocates in their fight to protect Roe v. Wade by restoring balance to the Supreme Court through expansion,” said Representative Mondaire Jones. “This moment is urgent. We don’t have to let a far-right majority on the Supreme Court end the right to abortion and other fundamental rights—we have more momentum than ever to pass the Judiciary Act in Congress.”
“As the first state to decriminalize abortion in 1967, six years before Roe, Colorado occupies a unique place in our national abortion rights landscape. Because the Court is poised to overturn Roe, we just passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act to put the fundamental right to abortion in state law. But it is clear that without Court expansion, the right to abortion we have here in Colorado will be denied to millions of Americans. That is wrong. And it must be fixed,” said Karen Middleton, president of Cobalt.
“Maryland has taken historic action this year to expand and protect access to abortion. We are the southernmost state with the strongest abortion protection laws. But the truth is that the highest court in the land is completely tainted and overrun by far right fundamentalists with an insidious agenda aimed at criminalizing pregnancy outcomes and rolling back all of the rights we hold so dear. The supremacy clause of the Constitution only allows states to do so much and leaves the devastating potential for even more draconian bans becoming the law of the land and superseding state protections. This is serious. Expanding the Court may seem like a radical move to some but it is a completely proportionate political response to the gutting of decades of civil rights precedent. We are kissing goodbye the livelihoods of the most marginalized in our communities for generations to come if no action is taken to change the Court. Abortion access is highly popular. It’s time for Democrats to claim that and stop hedging. Abortion is freedom and a right there’s no popular appetite to lose. People don’t forget and will never forgive inaction at the ballot box,” said Lily Bolourian, executive director of Pro-Choice Maryland.
“Ohio has a strong pro-choice majority, but because of gerrymandering, the people of Ohio are being ruled by an anti-choice legislative supermajority that is on the verge of outlawing abortion without exception. The courts were designed to be a check on overreaching zealots like these, but the U.S. Supreme Court is now dominated by justices that were nominated by a president that was not elected by a majority of Americans. The recently leaked draft decision in the Dobbs case shows that this Court will no longer stand up to this tyranny. We must expand the Court to protect our basic human rights, our lives, and our democracy,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of Pro-Choice Ohio.
“The fact that we are on the verge of losing a constitutional right is confirmation that we are witnessing the crumbling of an institution; restoring legitimacy to our courts is paramount,” said Christel Allen, executive director of Pro-Choice Oregon. “We will not stand by and cede our power to a Supreme Court majority that is willfully ignoring our rights, and whose actions will cause unprecedented harm to countless communities: Black and brown families, trans and gender non-binary individuals, Indigenous people, immigrants and refugees, and pregnant people and their families. Expanding the Court is a bold, and necessary change to uphold reproductive rights, gender protections, disability rights, voting and civil rights, LGBTQ2IA+ rights, and the right to privacy—these are essential, human rights.”
“It is clear that the Supreme Court of the United States has been compromised and politicized,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of Pro-Choice Virginia. “The extreme right-wing flank of the Court is using ideology not jurisprudence to undo decades of precedent and hard fought rights. Equity nor equality are their endgame; it is to use sheer force to bend us all to their will and it appears they will stop at nothing to do it. Our fundamental human rights and democracy are at stake and now, we must do all we can to stop this madness before it is too late.”
“We are in an ominous place where the Supreme Court is not representing the American people—the majority of whom believe in the legal right to abortion,” said Kia Guarino, executive director of Pro-Choice Washington. “Being pro-abortion is about much more than the right to abortion: It’s about socioeconomic justice, racial justice, and community. Our elected leaders say they care about these fundamental rights. Well, now is the time to act. The Supreme Court must be expanded to represent all Americans.”
“When the people working on the ground day after day to protect abortion access share their perspective on what it will take to protect abortion rights, everyone should listen,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, executive director of Take Back the Court Action Fund. “The stolen right-wing Supreme Court majority has already shown its hand, and the conservative justices’ pure hostility toward the right to abortion is obvious. So the question is, will our elected leaders sit idly by and allow them to impose their cruel agenda? Or will they listen to those on the frontlines of this fight when they say that if we want to protect the right to abortion there is no choice but to restore balance to the Supreme Court?”
In the days since Justice Alito’s frightening draft opinion leaked, momentum behind Court expansion has only grown. A poll from the week of the leak shows that a plurality supports Court expansion while a majority of the public does not want the Court to overturn Roe. This is consistent with April polling that shows a majority (52%) of registered voters believe that increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court would strengthen democracy.
In addition, leaders from former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to Reps. Adam Schiff, Brendan Boyle, Nanette Barragán, David Cicilline, Jimmy Gomez, and Mark DeSaulnier have come out in support of expanding the Court in recent days.
The groups’ full statement in support of Court expansion follows:
As state advocates, we are on the frontlines defending abortion access in communities across the country — in red states, blue states, and purple states. And we are coming together to say what the moment demands: The fight to protect abortion rights must include the fight to expand the Supreme Court.
The critical work of litigating cases to keep clinics open, and securing proactive legislation to expand abortion access, depends on having a judiciary that acts with integrity, in good faith, and in allegiance to the law. But that’s not our reality: we have a 6-3 Court that was stolen by anti-abortion politicians in a series of unprecedented power grabs with the express goal of overturning our most fundamental rights. Everything we care about is at stake: reproductive freedom, racial justice, LGBTQI equality, immigrants rights, climate justice, and democracy itself. This is not a hypothetical — it is happening right now, and lives are on the line.
That means legislation to safeguard abortion access is critical, but not enough. We also need a Court that won’t overturn that legislation. It’s time for every elected official who supports reproductive rights to join us in support of Court expansion.
Columbus — Nan Whaley has won the 2022 Democratic nomination for governor. She will appear on the November ballot opposite Mike DeWine amid a nationwide fight to decide whether abortion access will be upheld or blocked by the US Supreme Court. Pro-Choice Ohio endorsed Whaley early in the campaign.
Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said “Nan is who Ohio needs. We need a passionately pro-choice governor in Ohio, someone who will stop using the Ohio Department of Health as a weapon against abortion clinics. We need someone who will veto abortion bans passed by the state’s gerrymandered legislature. We need a governor who understands what is at stake and will fight to protect and expand abortion access, family planning, and quality affordable and child care.
“Mike DeWine has passed seven abortion bans and state policies against reproductive rights, including a six-week abortion ban. Just last week, he used an executive order to pay crisis pregnancy centers another $1.5 million so they can continue their plot of obstructing abortion access through misinformation campaigns. DeWine and the anti-choice Republicans must be stopped before they do more harm to Ohioans needing abortion access.”
In Akron, Pro-Choice Ohio issued our first ever endorsement in a federal race: “To ensure that everyone has the resources they need, from maternal healthcare, to childcare, to family planning, to abortion, there is no one I trust more to fight in Washington than Akron’s own Emilia Sykes. I’m thrilled to see her nomination and determined to do everything we can to help elect her to Congress.”
Columbus — A draft opinion from US Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito is reported to have been leaked, showing intent to directly overturn the abortion protections outlined in Roe v. Wade.
Pro-Choice Ohio Kellie Copeland said: “Though many expected this could be the Court’s decision, we must be clear that this is not yet an official decision. Nevertheless, the heartbreak, pain and fear are not diminished. To everyone who has had or provided an abortion, or fought to keep abortion legal and accessible, my message to you tonight is that we will never stop fighting for you and everyone else who needs or provides abortion care.
“If legal access to abortion is lost in Ohio, we know that the people most impacted will be Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, disabled folks, trans people, minors, and low-income Ohioans. We must, and will continue to fight back. There will be tough days ahead. But we will not be defeated, because we will not surrender.”
On Tuesday’s primary election, Copeland said: “Now is the time for champions, not just allies. That is why I am asking Democrats to vote for Nan Whaley for governor. She has been in the fight with us for years against Mike DeWine’s crusade to close abortion clinics in our state, and we need her as Ohio’s next governor.”
On clinic availability, Copeland said: “For now, abortion is still legal in Ohio. If you know anyone who has an appointment, or needs an abortion, nine clinics across Ohio remain open to care for patients.” A full list of Ohio’s clinics is available at https://prochoiceohio.org/clinics/
Columbus — Hiding his actions late on a Friday afternoon, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave $1,500,000 taxpayer dollars from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers via the state’s Pregnancy and Parenting Program. The funds were transferred under Executive Order 2022-09D.
Pro-Choice Ohio Kellie Copeland: “Mike DeWine is using taxpayer dollars to curry political favor with anti-abortion groups ahead of the Republican primary. The fake clinics that get this money are unregulated, not bound by HIPPA privacy requirements, and they trade in stigma and misinformation to dissuade people from obtaining abortion care. These fake clinics are gearing up to launch intentionally confusing misinformation campaigns following the expected Supreme Court decisions on abortion expected in June. And if that wasn’t bad enough, these funds come from money that was earmarked for needy families and children. Shame on Mike DeWine.”
These funds are in addition to the $6,000,000 allocated to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers in the 2021 state operating budget, House Bill 110 and funds given to that program by the sale of “Choose Life” license plates.
Akron, OH — The Pro-Choice Ohio board has unanimously voted to endorse Emilia Sykes for Ohio’s 13th Congressional district. This announcement comes weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling that could overturn or gut Roe v. Wade, which will threaten the legal right to an abortion here in Ohio and across the country.
Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Ohio said, “This endorsement is special, both because this is our first ever federal endorsement and because that endorsement is for Emilia Sykes. I have had the privilege to know and work with Emilia Sykes for over a decade, first when she interned with our organization while a graduate student doing important policy research on anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers, and most recently as the Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives. Her personal integrity and expertise in public health and the law uniquely qualify her to represent our community during this pivotal period when access to abortion is so imperiled. Emilia Sykes understands that all attacks on abortion access disproportionately impact Black women and all women of color, young people, and transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. To ensure that everyone has the resources they need, from maternal healthcare, to childcare, to family planning, to abortion, there is no one I trust more to fight in Washington than Akron’s own Emilia Sykes.”
Pro-Choice Ohio endorses 100% pro-choice candidates who have satisfactorily completed our rigorous questionnaire. Pro-Choice Ohio is committed to protecting the full range of reproductive health options, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Pro-Choice Ohio, 11811 Shaker Blvd., Suite 210, Cleveland, OH 44120 Kellie Copeland, Executive Director
Columbus — Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland issued the following response to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s annual State of the State address.
“Mike DeWine and his cronies have failed to make their case on abortion with Ohioans and the American people. Instead of respecting what their fellow citizens think and say, they are abusing their positions to impose their worldview on everyone else. That is not patriotic. That is not democratic. Those are not Ohio values. Those are not American values.
“Governor DeWine has weaponized the Ohio Department of Health against abortion clinics, when he should have used them as a regulatory partner to help ensure that patients are getting the best care. Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers have been defunded. Abstinence only sex education, which is dangerously ineffective, has been if not the law of the land, certainly the policy of the land. The state has made dismal progress — if any — on infant and maternal mortality. Abortion is one piece of a larger set of issues around reproductive rights, health, justice, and freedom that have frankly deteriorated drastically over the last 10 years.
“Now is the time for action. We, and the next generation, are at risk of losing the fundamental freedom to decide when and if and how to have a family, what happens inside our own bodies. But we are not helpless. We can vote in this election. We can vote for people, like Mayor Nan Whaley, who share our values and will fight for them. We can make our voices heard right now about redistricting and the failure of leadership by Mike DeWine and the redistricting commission that has decided that they would rather rule over the people Ohio than serve the people of Ohio.”
Ohio has nine abortion clinics open for patients across the state; six of them offer full abortion services and three others provide medication abortion. Find the full list on our website: https://prochoiceohio.org/clinics/
Columbus — In an effort to stigmatize people seeking abortion care and the medical professionals who provide that care, Senator Stephen Huffman has introduced Senate Bill 304.
Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “This is part of an ongoing campaign based on fear and misinformation to smear abortion providers and frighten patients. An increasing number of patients are turning to medication abortion care. That is why anti-abortion organizations and the politicians in their pockets are desperate to dissuade patients from choosing this safe, effective, and private abortion method.
“It is outrageous that Ohio politicians like Governor Mike DeWine and Senator Steven Huffman use their offices to spread medically inaccurate lies. Regardless of their wild claims, the fact is that 20 years of data clearly shows that medication abortion is safe and effective, including annual reports produced by the Ohio Department of Health. The use of mifepristone and misoprostol to induce abortion has a complication rate lower than child birth1, and on par with colonoscopies2.”
A note on language: Mifepristone is a form of medication abortion. The biased use of the phrase “chemical abortion” by individuals and organizations that oppose abortion access is inappropriate and intended to spread uncertainty around a safe, FDA-approved pharmaceutical.
Cleveland, OH – The following press statement is issued jointly by the 13 organizations that make up the State Abortion Access Network — Avow, Cobalt, Pro-Choice Connecticut, Pro-Choice Maryland, Pro-Choice Minnesota, Pro-Choice Missouri, Pro-Choice North Carolina, Pro-Choice Ohio, Pro-Choice Oregon, Pro-Choice Virginia, Pro-Choice Washington, Pro-Choice Wyoming, and Reproductive Equity Now:
President Joe Biden has nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. With a decade on the bench, Judge Jackson is eminently qualified for this position. Judge Jackson currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and her career includes graduating from Harvard with high honors, working as a public defender, serving eight years as a federal judge, and a clerkship with Justice Stephen Breyer whom she will be replacing. The nomination of the first Black woman to the Court is a historic and long overdue step towards our highest court reflecting the people it serves.
Aimee Arrambide, Executive Director, Avow: “Anti-abortion politicians have been using Texas as a policy testing ground for the rest of the country, and our state desperately needs a restored judiciary that will put a stop to the ongoing assault to personal freedoms. The nomination of Judge Jackson as the first Black woman named to the high court is important in the larger fight for justice and equity across the nation. Avow calls for a swift confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.”
Karen Middleton, President, Cobalt: “Last month may have been the last anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Without new judicial nominees who represent real Americans, our nation simply cannot count on the federal courts to protect our Constitutional right to abortion in Colorado. Roe has always been a floor, not a ceiling. In order for abortion to not only be legal but also accessible for anyone who wants it, without stigma, cost barriers, or political interference, the courts must be restored. Cobalt supports the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.”
Mallory Schwarz, Executive Director Pro-Choice Missouri: “For 53 years, Pro-Choice Missouri has been the on-the-ground force protecting and expanding access to abortion for everybody. We know the majority of Missourians support access to abortion without political interference, and it’s time we have a Supreme Court that reflects the people. Trump appointees have brought the worst threat to reproductive freedom our country has ever seen, and the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a historic step to move our country forward.”
Kellie Copeland, Executive Director, Pro-Choice Ohio: “The selection of Judge Jackson is important, both because of the knowledge and experience she brings to the High Court, but also the ground-breaking representation in having the first Black woman to become a Supreme Court Justice. We are grateful to President Biden for nominating a judge of Judge Ketanji Brown’s caliber to the Court. We are also aware of the racist and sexist motivations of those who will attempt to smear her. These detractors make it clear how important her ascension truly is.”
Tarina Keene, Executive Director, Pro-Choice Virginia: “We need fair-minded judges who will prioritize equal justice and an empathetic, humane justice system — that is how we protect and advance civil rights, health care access, including abortion access, and our freedom to vote. We must build a judiciary committed to equal justice and increase public trust in our courts by confirming judges from all walks of life, ensuring the life experiences of all Americans are reflected on the federal bench. Pro-Choice Oregon applauds the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.”
Kia Guarino, Executive Director, Pro-Choice Washington: “Everyone deserves affordable, unbiased, quality, and comprehensive abortion and reproductive care regardless of age, race, zip code, income, gender, or immigration status. Our nations’ courts cannot uphold the standards of health equity for everyone without true representation. The nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is historic and long overdue, and we are heartened by this movement toward a stronger justice system.”
Rebecca Hart Holder, Executive Director, Reproductive Equity Now: “No matter what happens at the high court, abortion will remain legal in Massachusetts. But, that doesn’t guarantee abortion care will remain accessible. Clinicians are already seeing patients travel from Texas to Massachusetts to access the time-sensitive abortion care they need and deserve. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, advocates predict that 26 states will move quickly to ban abortion. We are heartened by the nomination of Judge Jackson to the Court and look forward to a swift confirmation process that includes appropriate questions for Judge Jackson regarding every American’s right to access abortion safely and legally in their community.”
This network of state abortion advocacy organizations were former affiliates of NARAL Pro-Choice America. They are state experts in fighting against anti-choice legislation and fighting for the expansion of reproductive freedom. They have secured historic wins including over-the-counter emergency contraceptives on college campuses, contraceptive equity legislation, codifying Roe v. Wade into state law, clinic escort legislation, reproductive non-discrimination laws, laws requiring transparency with crisis pregnancy centers, repeal of parental consent laws, and more. We are each advocating in our own states, with on-the-ground expertise, to ensure everyone has access to safe abortion care in their own communities.
Columbus — Today, the Ohio House Committee on Health held a first hearing on House Bill 378, a bill to force doctors to lie to patients and potentially putting their patients’ health in danger. Representatives Kyle Koehler and Sarah Fowler Arthur’s legislation perpetuates false claims that progesterone could halt a medication abortion after it has already begun. The only placebo control clinical study into this idea was stopped because trial participants suffered harmful side effects and it was determined it was too unsafe to continue the research.
A note on language: The unproven concept being promoted in this bill is not an “abortion reversal.” Stopping a procedure mid-way through the process is not the same as reversing it. “Reversal” is not a medical term used by medical professionals or the AP Stylebook. We ask media to refrain from repeating this false claim.
Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Abortion opponents in Ohio are continuing their efforts to stigmatize abortion with medically-inaccurate information and unproven, and potentially dangerous practices. Abortion providers rely on scientifically-accurate and thoroughly researched protocols to support patients before, during, and after an abortion. Reps. Koehler and Fowler Arthur are trying to mislead patients and discredit abortion providers. Patients need medically accurate information, not scripts dictated by politicians filled with deception and ideologically-driven claims.”
The idea of using progesterone to interrupt a medication abortion was unproven last session when this bill was introduced, and now, additionally, there is evidence showing that this protocol could pose a serious danger to patients. Medication abortion is induced with a combination of two medications – and we know it is a safe and effective way of ending a pregnancy through 10 weeks, based rigorous scientific research and over 20 years of use in this country.
Additional background, from NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/12/05/785262221/safety-problems-lead-to-early-end-for-study-of-abortion-pill-reversal
Researchers from the University of California, Davis, were investigating claims that the hormone progesterone can stop a medication-based abortion after a patient has completed the first part of the two-step process. For the study, the researchers aimed to enroll 40 women who were scheduled to have surgical abortions. Before their surgical procedures, the women received mifepristone, the first pill in the two-medication regimen that’s used for medical abortions. The women were then randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or progesterone, which advocates claim can block the effects of mifepristone.
But researchers stopped the study in July, 2019, after only 12 women had enrolled. Three of the women required ambulance transport to a hospital for treatment of severe vaginal bleeding. The researchers decided the risk to women of participation was too great to continue with the study. The study was unable to show what, if any, effectiveness progesterone has in reversing a medical abortion.
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