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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2015
Violent Rhetoric Begets Violence
New legislation provides doctors and patients with legal protections
COLUMBUS, OHIO — Today, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Progress Ohio joined members of the Ohio House of Representatives to oppose the violent rhetoric that permeates the anti-choice movement. They also unveiled newly introduced legislation, House Bill 408, to address harassment of doctors, patients, and staff at Ohio’s nine abortion clinics.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland offered the following statement: "No one should be shamed or assaulted for providing abortion care or choosing an abortion. This bill keeps abusive protesters out of the face of medical professionals and women who are seeking privacy and medical care. This bill is urgently needed because we know that harassment at clinics has the capability of becoming violent.
"We cannot allow our medical professionals and clinic employees to repeatedly be targets of harassment at their businesses and homes. This bill gives physicians and their staff another tool to stop protesters from interfering with their ability to provide reproductive health care to their patients.
"It’s not enough for anti-choice organizations and politicians to say they’re sending 'thoughts and prayers' to victims of violence aimed at abortion providers. They must also acknowledge that their rhetoric has created an environment where extremists become motivated to do harm. It is possible for politicians to articulate opposition or support for something without using language that incites violence. The use of inflammatory rhetoric must end."
The legislation creates creates a civil court right of action for employees of reproductive health facilities to protect them from increasingly dangerous harassment and a buffer zone around clinic entrances to prevent protesters from blocking access to facilities. Sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lepore-Hagan and Rep. Stephanie Howse, the bill joins the Abortion Access Without Apology legislation announced on October 1, 2015.