“News broke earlier this week that two more abortion clinics here in the state of Ohio will close,” said Mallory McMaster-Ullman of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “We know that’s not going to stop abortions; that’s just going to make them less safe and put women in danger.”
Ohio’s abortion clinics are facing more restrictions after the state budget bill banned the clinics from signing transfer agreements with public hospitals. The budget bill also requires women to listen to the fetal heartbeat before an abortion. Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sued the state over the new legislation. At the same time, the number of women seeking abortions in Ohio increased by 2.8 percent for the first time in a dozen years. More than 25,000 abortions were performed last year in Ohio and 1,101 were performed on women living in Montgomery County.
“This move is an abuse of power motivated by pressure from Ohio Right to Life, an anti-choice organization led by Governor Kasich’s appointee to the State Medical Board, Mike Gonidakis,” she stated. “Kasich’s agenda is clear: to put politicians in charge of women’s personal, private medical decisions by closing every abortion clinic in this state, despite their incredible safety record.”
The lawsuit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court says that three abortion restrictions in the budget “have nothing whatsoever to do with budgeting, appropriations, spending or taxation. Rather, they are controversial riders, added in the eleventh hour to a must-pass bill in order to ensure that they would pass easily and without opposition.”
Ohio has become a laboratory for what anti-abortion leaders call the incremental strategy — passing a web of rules designed to push the hazy boundaries of Supreme Court guidelines without flagrantly violating them. Many of the rules, critics say, are designed to discourage women from getting abortions or to hamper clinic operations, even forcing some to close.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today challenged the constitutionality of new abortion-related restrictions passed in the new state budget. The suit contends that the changes violate a state constitutional provision prohibiting lawmakers from slipping unrelated issues into one law, in this case the $62 billion, two-year budget. The litigation was filed on behalf of Preterm, a Cleveland women’s health clinic.
If a once little known state senator like Wendy Davis, who at age 50 found friends and followers when she delivered a filibuster against a harsh anti-abortion bill the Texas legislature was ready to pass and Gov. Rick Perry was eager to sign, can be elected governor in Texas, following Perry's three elected terms in office, by harnessing the power of female voters angry and upset with lawmakers obsessed with controlling their health rights, what happens in Texas may not stay in Texas. The Texas model could become the Ohio model with enough money to spur more women voters to turnout to install candidates who support them rather than politicians who make their lives more difficult.
The number of abortions performed in Ohio rose nearly 3 percent to 25,473 last year, the first increase in more than a decade, according to an annual Ohio Department of Health report released Tuesday. Most of the abortions, 24,080, were obtained by Ohio women, including 91 from Muskingum County, according to the Ohio Department of Health report. That represented an increase from 81 abortions in 2011; since 2000 the number of abortions obtained by local women has fluctuated from 127 in 2004 to 75 in 2008.
“We won’t go back!” That was the message from the hundreds of Ohioans who rallied at the state capitol Wednesday, demanding that the Republican legislature and GOP Governor John Kasich stop legislating women’s bodies. The rally came just a few days after the Democrats in the state house introduced a bill that would undo the myriad of attacks on reproductive health that were passed as amendments to the state’s last budget bill, many of which were added last minute and without any hearings or debate.
Opponents of new laws restricting abortion in Ohio took their message back to the Ohio Statehouse Wednesday. They recent laws are taking away rights that women have fought hard for. But supporters of those new laws say they are here to stay. Lincoln Park, a former housing project on the far south side of Columbus. About 500 Ohioans gather on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse, holding signs and chanting. The group’s speakers say new abortion laws in Ohio are hurting the state’s women. Dr. Lisa Parerria, an OB/GYN from Cleveland, holds her newborn daughter as she forcefully explains to the crowd why this new law is driving high risk maternity patients out of Ohio.
As state legislators returned from their summer recess and prepared to debate even more anti-woman bills, hundreds of demonstrators from more than 50 women’s, labor and other groups marched on the Ohio state capitol in Columbus. Angered by draconian attacks on women’s health care, they vowed to defeat the politicians supporting such legislation.
The number of abortions performed in Ohio rose nearly 3 percent last year after more than a decade of decline. Still, the 25,473 abortions performed in 2012 marked the second-lowest rate of pregnancy terminations since the state began tracking them in 1976. The report released yesterday by the Ohio Department of Health showed a jump in the number of African-American women getting abortions and a drop among white women.
Abortion in Ohio ticked upward in 2012, driven primarily by increases in the number of abortions by women who are black, according to a report by the Ohio Department of Health. The annual report, released this week, says that 25,473 abortions were reported in the state in 2012. That’s an increase of about 3 percent from the 2011 total of 24,764.
A rally outside the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday decried legislative changes to laws affecting women’s health and made clear where they have set their sights: Gov. John Kasich and the Republican majority in the Ohio General Assembly. The rally, which drew an estimated crowd of 350, mostly women, railed against restrictions on abortion enacted by the Legislature, including requirements for tests they say are medically unnecessary and changes in funding formulas that could strip Planned Parenthood of support for its health centers in the state.
With her two-week-old son in hand, Cleveland gynecologist Lisa Perriera told demonstrators at the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday that new laws limiting access to abortions and other women's health care are creating unnecessary hurdles for her patients. Perriera said that because of the laws she recently had to require a couple forced to end a pregnancy for medical reasons to listen to the fetal heartbeat and undergo an ultrasound to determine the pregnancy's viability before sending them out of state for a legal late-term abortion. "I'm here today to speak in opposition to the continuous assault on comprehensive reproductive health care by our state elected officials and to demand that Ohio politicians get out of my exam room," Perriera told the crowd of several hundred at the "We Won't Go Back" rally.
Ohio saw a 2.8 percent increase last year in the number of abortions performed, which marks the first uptick in a dozen years, according to a state Department of Health report released Tuesday. Last year, 25,473 abortions were performed in Ohio, compared with 24,764 in 2011. The overall trend line shows abortion has been steadily declining over the past 15 years in Ohio. And abortions in Ohio peaked in 1982 when more than 45,000 were performed.
Provisions in the state budget that took effect Tuesday will cut off federal family-planning funding to Planned Parenthood and other clinics. Under the Republican-sponsored budget passed earlier this year, Planned Parenthood and some other family-planning facilities are now last in line to receive federal family-planning money funneled through the state – a move that effectively prevents them from getting any of the funding. Legislators also inserted language into the budget allowing crisis pregnancy centers, religious charities, and other organizations to receive federal welfare money. Crisis pregnancy centers advise pregnant women against having an abortion and offer services such as counseling and adoption support.
Ohio House Democrats on Monday introduced legislation that would repeal a number of budget provisions on abortion and other women’s issues that are set to take effect Tuesday. The items, which include defunding Planned Parenthood and requiring a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortion, were added by majority Republican lawmakers to the budget before passing it earlier this year.
Democratic state Reps. John Patrick Carney and Kathleen Clyde gathered with women’s health advocates yesterday to announce their intention to introduce legislation to repeal what they call anti-women provisions added into Gov. John Kasich’s budget. “Kasich is neither a doctor nor medical professional,” said Carney, D-Columbus. “Women do not need nor do they want any government to make medical decisions for them.”
In June, Ohio’s GOP-led legislature tacked on multiple anti-abortion amendments to the state’s two-year budget at the last minute. The surprise addition to the budget bill ensured that the abortion restrictions could be pushed through very quickly. There wasn’t time for any type of public hearing to allow voters to comment on them — until now. This week, a handful of House Democrats in the state held their own legislative hearing to give voters an opportunity to express their concerns about the stringent anti-abortion provisions. The event wasn’t on the official legislative calendar, but the Democrats noted that it represented the hearing that should have been held before the final vote on the budget back in June.
Calling it the hearing that should have been held before the budget vote in June, a handful of Ohio House Democrats heard testimony yesterday on concerns about the anti-abortion provisions in the state budget that will take effect at the end of the month.
“A budget bill that should have set the state’s funding priorities for the next two years, morphed into one of the most anti-women bills passed by a state legislature this year,” said Jaime Miracle of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio in a release from House Democrats.
Haven’t Republicans at the Statehouse already done enough to intrude on what are private decisions belonging to a woman with the help of her doctor? The new state budget strips funds from family planning providers, all but ensures the closure of abortion clinics and gives doctors orders about how to conduct their medical practice.
“It’s a new general assembly, and we’re ready to start the fire again, and we’re ready for battle for what we believe is most important in this world, and that is life,” [said State Rep. Christina Hagan]. Democrats and abortion rights advocates quickly criticized the move, calling it a continuation of an “anti-woman agenda” that has already included controversial abortion-related measures included in the recently enacted biennial budget.
Two Republican state lawmakers are spearheading a renewed push to ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, despite similar legislation failing to pass the General Assembly last year and no support from the state’s largest anti-abortion lobby.
A bill that would ban abortions in Ohio once a fetal heartbeat is detected is back, but it faces an uncertain fate in a legislature that already has handed the anti-abortion movement major victories this year.
Backers of a bill that would prohibit abortion in Ohio from the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected know their proposal would face court challenges if enacted. That, they say, is exactly what they want.
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood is a move touted by conservatives to block public dollars to organizations that perform abortions. But Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using public money for abortions, and they offer cancer screenings, birth control and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. “Today the Ohio House leadership introduced a revised budget that defunds women’s health care providers, including Planned Parenthood, while simultaneously providing funding for crisis pregnancy centers that refuse to provide contraceptives services or referrals,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of the Ohio-based organization. “So instead of using taxpayer dollars to fund programs to provide real health care and prevent unintended pregnancies, the Ohio House would send our money to crisis pregnancy centers that routinely give women deceptive and medically inaccurate information.”
The centers are often called crisis pregnancy centers. These mostly non-profit organizations plaster ads all over college campuses and areas where there could be a high number of women who unexpectedly find themselves pregnant. Jamie Miracle of NARAL Ohio says a new study by her group shows these centers are not offering medical help. Miracle: “What we found was a pattern medically inaccurate information, coercion and scare tactics to force a woman to make a decision that these centers want the woman to make which is to give the child up for adoption or to parent the child and not to make the decision to have an abortion.”
ideastream / Northeast Ohio Public Radio | Jo Ingles
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Some state crisis pregnancy centers and NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio are disagreeing on whether or not abortion leads to mental health issues in women. Of the state's more than 100 pregnancy centers, NARAL reviewed a random sample of 55 of them and found that almost half of the centers told women abortion can lead to mental health issues. Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, believes these pregnancy centers are misleading women.
On Monday afternoon, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio released an undercover investigative report called Ohio Crisis Pregnancy Centers Revealed. NARAL says there's a movement to provide more support to crisis pregnancy centers like PDHC and they wanted to know what's going on behind closed doors. Group members say they sent women to 55 Ohio CPC's as part of the investigation.
The study comes from the NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation, which investigated the state’s 107 pregnancy centers, including about a dozen in Southwest Ohio. Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL, said the centers use shame and manipulation to bully women. And they inaccurately link abortion to high health risks, breast cancer and mental health problems.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio reviewed a random sample of 55 of Ohio’s more than 100 centers and found almost half told women that abortion can lead to mental health issues. About four in 10 tied abortion to breast cancer or infertility.
Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that made abortion legal. The debate continues to be fierce, but Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said the vast majority of Americans don’t want to go back. “The younger people I work with are so passionate about this issue and about how politicians should not be making their personal decisions. I just don’t see America doing a 180 on this issue,” she said.
My office is in an abortion clinic. Every day I walk past the protesters and then through the waiting room filled with women and those who have joined them for support. Looking around the room, I see a range of emotions; some women are nervous, some are relieved, but no matter what they feel, I am grateful because I know they will get excellent medical care from qualified and caring doctors and medical professionals. That wasn't always the case.
Forty years later -- the decision was announced on Jan. 22, 1973 -- it is clear that Blackmun did not get his wish. The political, legal and social battles surrounding abortion did not go away in the aftermath of Roe. If anything, they have intensified: Almost every legislative session in Washington or Columbus is marked by fights over proposed restrictions. Protesters still gather outside abortion clinics to pray, and tens of thousands of them will march in Washington again this month. Supporters of abortion rights are equally adamant, as they showed during last year's campaigns.
The Plain Dealer | The Plain Dealer Editorial Board
With the exception of Sen. Brown, who’s in the majority in Washington, all the Democrats got in the New Year were the cheap seats. They’re on the outside looking in. Gerrymandering is part of the problem. Republicans controlled redistricting, and the politically lopsided districts they created paid off big. Republicans won 12 of 16 Ohio U.S. House seats. The GOP controls the Ohio House, 60-39 and the state Senate, 23-10. Those whopping majorities mean Republicans don’t need Democratic help even in the unlikely chance that they want to override a veto from Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Kromenaker, a social worker, was born in January 1972, one year before the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. She has spent her entire adult life providing abortion services and is among hundreds of clinic directors across the U.S. navigating an ever increasing number of state-imposed abortion regulations. At Red River, the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, a woman must wait 24 hours between scheduling an appointment and arriving at the facility. Once there, she must undergo a counseling, verification and testing process that lasts up to five hours. If she is a minor, she must notify her parents; get permission from one or both, depending on who has custody; or get approval from a judge. Like Medicaid programs in some 30 other states, North Dakota's does not cover abortion services except in instances of rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother.