Press Release: Protest of Ohio budget held by organizations in support of reproductive freedom and abortion access

Columbus — Ohio organizations in support of reproductive freedom and abortion access rallied during a noontime protest held around the Ohio Statehouse in in opposition to harmful policies in Ohio Budget bill.

Amendments added at the last minute to the Senate passed version of House Bill 110:

Threaten all abortion providers in Southwest Ohio including the Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati and Women’s Med Center of Dayton. These providers have been targeted because they have variance agreements directly with physicians instead of a transfer agreement with a private hospital. Both the variance and transfer agreement requirements are completely medically unnecessary and are entirely about adding hurdles to abortion providers, making it more difficult for them to keep their doors open. The budget amendment seeks to further restrict access by listing additional medically unnecessary restrictions the physicians contracted through the variance must comply with including arbitrary distance requirements.
Further suppress comprehensive sex education by adding barriers to schools that want to teach a comprehensive curriculum rather than abstinence-only programming, which is not accurate and causes harm to students.
Give medical practitioners the ability to refuse to participate in any medical treatment that they object to regardless of harm to the patient, including gender-affirming care, contraception, fertility treatments, and abortion care.

ACLU Ohio Policy Director Jocelyn Rosnick: “These last-minute, radical provisions continue to threaten the health and safety of LGBTQ Ohioans, people seeking reproductive health care, Ohioans with disabilities, and the right to vote. The policies that were included, and the process by which they were added, are alarming and shameful. We call on Governor DeWine to veto any and all measures that advance.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Ohio extremists created the state’s budget in sneaky, quick, backroom deals. They waited until public comment on the budget was over to add amendments that use the bill as a Trojan horse to take away reproductive health care and undercut evidence-based, LGBTQ-inclusive sex education. They’re spending $10 million on programs that have been shown through research to lie to and manipulate the clients they are supposed to serve. They are again attacking abortion providers instead of improving access to abortion and contraception. These Republicans have never listened to the people in the communities they claim to represent about what they need. How many people get harmed when Republicans pat themselves on the back instead of doing their jobs?”

Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Executive Director Elaina Ramsey: “Budgets are moral documents, but there is nothing moral about this budget that restricts abortion access and reproductive freedom for Ohioans. Worse yet, the religious refusals in this budget are nothing but a license to discriminate against people’s healthcare decisions. Ohioans can see right through this sham of a budget, and we won’t stand for it.”

Ohio Women’s Alliance Co-Director Rhiannon Carnes: “OUR OHIO BUDGET would ensure people get the pandemic economic relief they need to fully recover from the last 15 months, it would provide affordable health care, it would expand, not attack access to abortion and other reproductive health care services, and it would declare racism a public health crisis, allowing us to begin to address the impact racism has on health care outcomes.”

Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region President & CEO Kersha Deibel: “We do our work with the lives of Ohioans at heart and we expect our elected officials to do the same. An amendment that threatens the highest quality of abortion care and creates barriers for comprehensive sex education is not one in the best interest of Ohioans. Ohio continuously tries to force abortion providers, and only abortion providers, to jump through medically unnecessary hoops simply to make it difficult for providers to keep their doors open. Ohio needs more access to health care and education, not less—and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure our patients are receiving the high quality care they deserve.”

SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change State Partnerships Manager Gabrielle Doyle: “SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change opposes the deeply immoral efforts of Ohio legislators to weaken access to essential reproductive health care services and information. If enacted with the current amendments, educators across the state will be forced to jump through burdensome hoops to teach more comprehensive sex education. Educators should be encouraged to provide more inclusive and unbiased instruction, not presented with additional barriers that inhibit young people from receiving affirming instruction. Governor DeWine veto these dangerous amendments and to ensure all Ohio residents can access the critical sexual and reproductive health care and education they need to make informed decisions about their health and future.”

Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity Ohio Policy & Movement Building Director Sarah Inskeep: “Ohio’s conservative supermajority has repeatedly demonstrated – especially with this dangerous budget proposal – that their values are rooted in racism, oppression, patriarchy, and white supremacy. They continue to weaponize their power to hijack precious state resources to fund their harmful agenda instead of funding comprehensive health care, education, and other critical social services that Ohioans and their families so desperately need.”

Issue 1 Passes with an overwhelming majority!

We did it! Abortion and other reproductive care services are now protected in the Ohio Constitution! Support Pro-Choice Ohio’s continued work to ensure safe and equitable abortion care for all Ohioans.