Podcasts

On religion in the pro-choice movement

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This week, Kellie, Elaina, and Gabe discuss our new partnership with the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio:

Too often, religion is used to shame and stigmatize people who have had an abortion or use contraceptives. That is why the work of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is so important—Ohioans need to know that people of faith trust them to make their own reproductive health decisions.

Elaina Ramsey, ORCRC’s new executive director:

It’s an honor to partner with the NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio team in bringing the moral power of religious communities to the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement.

A dedicated community organizer and campaign strategist, Ramsey is the first woman of color to lead ORCRC. She is committed to communities of color, low-income women, and immigrants.

Copeland, a longtime advocate of reproductive freedom, has path forward for reproductive rights in Ohio without engaging more people of faith.

Both organizations remain independent but have begun to share office space, resources, and strategies. Through innovation and collaboration, the groups seek to equip secular and faith communities in securing reproductive healthcare for every Ohioan—including access to birth control, comprehensive sexuality education, and safe, legal abortion.

Together, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and ORCRC will protect the moral and constitutional rights of all Ohioans to make their own reproductive health decisions without shame and stigma and without interference from the state.


Join NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio at an event near you:
August 19 — Toledo Pride Festival


NARAL’s The Morning After is a production of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

We’re proud to announce that NARAL’s The Morning After will air in Columbus on WGRN94.1FM on Friday mornings at 9 a.m.

SunriseWide4


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Blog Post

A Letter to White Progressive Women After Charlottesville

Dear White Progressive Women,

By the light of tiki torches, the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., illuminated what was already hidden in plain sight: the sin of racism that has plagued our nation’s soul since its founding.

But for those like me and other people of color, I didn’t need the hoods to come off to know that whiteness reigns supreme in our nation. To know that I am welcome in this country as long as I dare not challenge the model minority myth that pits Asians against other minorities. To know that black and brown bodies threaten the very structures of white power and privilege that serve to colonize others into submission.

While the violence and hatred in Charlottesville was a shock to many of you, the last Facebook post of Heather Heyer – the young white woman who was terrorized by an Ohio man and subsequently killed during the protest – says it all: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

If you didn’t know that this nation in all its red, white, and blue glory was founded through the blood, sweat, and tears of genocide and slavery, here’s your sign.

If you’re alarmed that racism persists today not only through neo-Nazis but also in the form of police brutality and the ongoing Flint water crisis, here’s your wake up call.

And if you’re still surprised that many white people continue to defend our racist, sexist, transphobic, Muslim-hating, xenophobic president, here’s your chance to do something about it.

So what does this mean for those in the fight for reproductive freedom – a movement that has historically been led by white, cisgender women? In these troubling times, what can you learn from Charlottesville to help develop your moral compass and inform your activism?

It may sound like a paradox, but it’s time for white feminists and progressive supporters to step back and step up for reproductive justice:

  1. Step back and humbly acknowledge the limitations of the pro-choice movement. In the 1990s, a group of black women birthed the term “reproductive justice” to counter the “right to choose” framework, recognizing that poor women, women of color, women subject to violence, and women without access to healthcare really have no “choice” when it comes to their reproductive lives. Broadening the reproductive rights agenda beyond abortion rights, reproductive justice looks at the whole health and well-being of women and their communities. Learn more about reproductive justice, a comprehensive social justice and intersectional movement led by women of color that promotes a person’s right to have children, the right not to have children, and the right to raise children in safe and healthy environments.
  2. Step back and support leaders of color. Draw the circle wide, share power, and honor the gifts and perspectives of emerging leaders to strengthen our collective movement for reproductive freedom (all without resorting to tokenism or benevolent racism). Check out these groups which center the lives, leadership, and voices of women of color for reproductive justice: New Voices Cleveland, ROOTT, Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Native Youth Sexual Health Network, and Sister Song.
  3. Step up and sit in your discomfort. If all this talk about racism and white supremacy makes you uncomfortable, do not look away or stop listening. Those with darker melanin don’t have that option. Reflect on this powerful visual and take some time to unpack how you have implicitly (or even explicitly) participated in white supremacy and reproductive injustice through word, thought, or deed.
  4. Step up and speak out. Silence (and ignorance) is violence. Not only is it exhausting for people of color to advocate for themselves, but it’s often burdensome for POC to educate our white counterparts about systemic oppression. If we are to dismantle white supremacy and advance reproductive justice, it must start with white people holding their own accountable and taking risks to create a more just and equal world. Read this article on why white supremacy must be named and addressed by white people.

While this list is just a starting point, I urge you to discern more ways to do the holy and hard work of rooting out white supremacy in your own heart, in your community, in your place of worship (oh yes, even there), and in the wider movement for reproductive health, rights, choice, and justice.

Racial justice is reproductive justice. Criminal justice is reproductive justice. LGBTQ justice is reproductive justice. Economic justice is reproductive justice…and on and on and on.

And it’s time to start paying attention.

Sincerely,
Your Asian Sister (aka Elaina Ramsey)

Podcasts

What’s happening in Toledo?

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This week, Kelley, Annie, and Gabe discuss the latest in Toledo. As Capital Care Network fights to stay open, the community in Northwest Ohio is doing everything they can to support them. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is asking ProMedica to sign a transfer agreement. Toledo City Council is also proposing a clinic protection ordinance to stop protesters from harassing patients and staff.

Last week, we sponsored a billboard outside the clinic to show support:

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Join NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio at an event near you:

August 19 — Toledo Pride Festival


Want to apply for an internship with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio? Apply here.


NARAL’s The Morning After is a production of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

We’re proud to announce that NARAL’s The Morning After will air in Columbus on WGRN94.1FM on Friday mornings at 9 a.m.

SunriseWide4


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Blog Post

Have you heard about Reproductive Health Happy Hours?

There’s a lot of opportunities out there to volunteer, to protest, to advocate, and raise hell for reproductive justice, especially here in Ohio, but it can be tiring, if not straight overwhelming.

What if you just want to hang out with some like-minded pro-choice people and have a good time? Well, have you heard about Reproductive Health Happy Hours?

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Repro Health Happy Hour is a monthly networking event for people working on sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice, and issues of gender and sexuality, and all pro-choice individuals looking for fun and progressive drinking buddies.

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The event was founded in New York City in 2004 and has now spread to more than 32 cities worldwide. Ohio has two Repro Health Happy Hours, one in Columbus and Cleveland.

Each month, organizers pick a local pro-choice friendly bar and take donations at the door. The proceeds from the door go to a pro-choice cause, including NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Planned Parenthood, Women Have Options / Ohio, Founder’s Women’s Health Center, CHOICES, and others.

 

When I first moved to Ohio, I was somewhat at a loss of how to meet friends “as an adult.” It’s much harder to meet people when you’re not on campus, constantly shoved into spaces with strangers. After attending the FOCO Pro-Choice Advocacy Day in 2015, I was introduced to an organizer of the Repro Health Happy Hours in Columbus and was absolutely thrilled.

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Here was a way for me to meet people in a new city who shared my values. I got to learn new places, drink, and support those values to boot! It’s amazing how many people in my life who mean the absolute world to me I originally met at Repro Health Happy Hours.

While RHHH are a great place to meet people, they’re also a great place to see people and sustain friendships. Sometimes life gets busy and it’s nice to have a monthly self-care event where you can just hang out with the people in the trenches with you week-to-week. It’s also a fantastic event to find out about volunteer events when you’re ready to return to the real world! 😉

The next Repro Health Happy Hour in Columbus will be August 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at GROWL! in Clintonville.

We’d love to see you there!

Interested in starting a Repro Health Happy Hour in your city? We’d love to help! Email volunteer@prochoiceohio.org.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Podcasts

Planned Parenthood fighting for funding

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This week, Kelley, Elaina, and Gabe discussed the US Senate vote to defeat Skinny Repeal that would destroy Americans’ access to affordable health care and block Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding. Also, they talk about this week’s federal court hearing to challenge John Kasich’s latest plan to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level.

Elaina spoke up against Ohio Right to Life’s latest announcement that they really, really, don’t support rape survivors. She has a letter in the Columbus Dispatch:

As a rape survivor and a committed Christian, I’m deeply disturbed by Ohio Right to Life’s decision to only endorse candidates that “hold a ‘pro-life’ position with no exceptions to abortion stemming from rape or incest (Dispatch article, last Friday).”

No woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy against her will, no matter the circumstance. As the executive director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, I faithfully advocate for compassionate reproductive care for all — including full access to contraceptives, adoption, abortion, and foster care. Anything less violates the lived experiences and moral agency of Ohio women, particularly survivors of rape and incest.

Given that 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual violence, Ohio Right to Life’s hard-line agenda perpetuates a rape culture. Rape survivors should not be punished and traumatized further to carry a pregnancy to term without their full consent.

Whether or not to become a parent is a sacred decision and should remain personal and private. While Ohio Right to Life claims to be nonsectarian, it has a long history of using toxic Christian rhetoric to restrict women’s reproductive health-care access.

The actions of Ohio Right to Life do not represent my faith, that of other religious traditions, nor the will of most women across our state.

Elaina Ramsey

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland issued a statement:

This new low standard in the Ohio Right to Life endorsement criteria further solidifies their alignment with extremists like President Donald Trump who believe that women who have abortions should be punished. These values are not Ohio values.

Women deserve access to safe, legal abortion care in their communities without judgment or political interference—regardless of the reason she is unable to continue a pregnancy. Here at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, we trust women to make their own reproductive health decisions, and we will continue to back candidates that do as well.

Also in the Dispatch, the newspaper issued their third editorial criticizing Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharen Kennedy for participating in an anti-abortion event before hearing a case about Toledo’s last abortion clinic:

The high court should modernize its process for handling complaints against one of its own. This is disappointing given that this court has been open with the public. This falls short of its own standard.


Join NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio at an event near you:
August 19 — Toledo Pride Festival


NARAL’s The Morning After is a production of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

We’re proud to announce that NARAL’s The Morning After will air in Columbus on WGRN94.1FM on Friday mornings at 9 a.m.

SunriseWide4


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Blog Post

What’s the Buzz at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio?

Without contest, the best part of organizing for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is the relationships you form with the volunteers. People come out of the woodwork all the time to become movers and shakers. With hundreds of concerned citizens fighting for sorely needed access to reproductive healthcare, you meet some really cool, special individuals that are full of surprises.

Take my friend at Second Harvest Foodbank of North Central Ohio. After meeting at various pro-choice actions hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, they contacted me last month with an incredible opportunity — while working for Second Harvest, they noticed they had mistakenly received over 80 lbs. of sex toys with no way to legally distribute them to needy folks. They asked if NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio would be able to use them and I enthusiastically accepted the offer, figuring out the paperwork together so I could adopt these homeless sex toys for a progressive cause. Today, they came to their new home at our Cleveland office.

Here are our spoils:


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Blog Post

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio joins forces with the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Two of the state’s leading pro-choice organizations — NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (ORCRC)—recently launched a formal partnership to advance reproductive freedom for Ohio women.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio:

Too often, religion is used to shame and stigmatize people who have had an abortion or use contraceptives. That is why the work of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is so important—Ohioans need to know that people of faith trust them to make their own reproductive health decisions.

Elaina Ramsey, ORCRC’s new executive director:

A pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-choice organization, ORCRC provides public education, advocacy, and spiritual counseling. It’s an honor to partner with the NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio team in bringing the moral power of religious communities to the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement.

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Elaina Ramsey

A dedicated community organizer and campaign strategist, Ramsey is the first woman of color to lead ORCRC. She is committed to communities of color, low-income women, and immigrants.

Copeland, a longtime advocate of reproductive freedom, has path forward for reproductive rights in Ohio without engaging more people of faith.

Both organizations remain independent but have begun to share office space, resources, and strategies. Through innovation and collaboration, the groups seek to equip secular and faith communities in securing reproductive healthcare for every Ohioan—including access to birth control, comprehensive sexuality education, and safe, legal abortion.

Together, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and ORCRC will protect the moral and constitutional rights of all Ohioans to make their own reproductive health decisions without shame and stigma and without interference from the state.

Find more information at http://www.ohiorcrc.org/


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio