2, Blog Post

Ohio’s rape statute of limitations extended 5 years

Good news: a bill to lift the statute of limitations for rape prosecution is heading to Gov. Kasich’s desk. It gives survivors years additional five years to press charges, for prosecutors to act, and for Ohio’s rape kit testing backlog to catch up. He’ll certainly sign the Republican-sponsored legislation.

“Why isn’t this GREAT news?” you ask.

The answer is simple: Why only 5 years?

This bill, HB 6, moves the bar from 20 to 25 years. However, Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) know a statute of limitations on rape should not exist at all. Their HB 234 would completely remove the statute of limitations and redefine spousal rape.

The Republican leadership loves to talk tough against crime, but they’re slow to protect rape victims — Shock! Whether or not they’ll see the logic behind dropping a statute of limitations is yet to be seen.


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

2, Blog Post

11th hour attacks on abortion headed to John Kasich, must be vetoed

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Click to Veto

Ohio House and Senate leaders violated a deal to remove a budget amendment that will close Toledo’s last abortion provider. The re-added measure could ultimately end abortion access on the Western half of the state. The budget also strips low-income women of Medicaid family planning care while earmarking $1,000,000 for crisis pregnancy centers. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio demands Gov. John Kasich remove the attacks on abortion clinics from the bill using a line-item veto.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland:

Ohio women will not stand for 11th hour, backdoor maneuvers that end access to abortion. We demand that Gov. Kasich veto these measures.

A compassionate leader does not sign away women’s rights before jetting off to campaign stops in Iowa or New Hampshire. John Kasich cannot simply excuse his own actions by saying ‘I’m just signing what they gave me.’ He will be responsible when women die through unsafe, illegal abortions.


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

2, Blog Post

Cruel Action by Ohio Senate Targets Women at Most Vulnerable Moment

Update – Here are your next opportunities for action:

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The Ohio Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 127, the 20-week abortion ban. The fast-track floor vote on this extremely controversial legislation comes just hours after a vote by the Senate Health Committee. This legislation violates Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey by banning abortion prior to viability and is opposed by the ACLU of Ohio. Medical groups like Physicians for Reproductive Health and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio oppose this legislation due to the threat it poses to women’s health. The Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Health also opposes this legislation on the grounds of religious liberty.

The Health Committee rejected an amendment by Sen. Charleta Tavares to add exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother. Sen. Peggy Lehner spoke in opposition to the amendment because the health-of-the-woman exception was “broad and vague.” NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio believes that legislation allowing for life-saving medical care for women should be broad, giving physicians every opportunity to provide care without concern for the personal views of anti-choice legislators.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “This is retaliation legislation. Following the decision by Lucas County Judge Myron Duhart to keep Capital Care Network open in Toledo, anti-women politicians are scrambling to score points with lobbyists opposing abortion rights.

“The 20-week abortion ban sacrifices the health and reproductive rights of women at their most vulnerable moment: most women targeted by this bill are suffering from medical complications with a wanted pregnancy. Doctors shouldn’t have their hands tied by legislators, they need to be able to treat their patients in the way that is best for their patient and their family.”

Offering testimony to the Health Committee was a woman who experienced a tragic pregnancy. Marla said: “During a routine ultrasound just after 20 weeks, my doctor started the conversation by telling us that Samuel’s heart was on the wrong side of his body.” Marla told of having to travel outside Ohio to terminate the wanted pregnancy because of post-viability restrictions signed by John Kasich in 2011. SB 127 targets women just like her. (Full testimony at: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committee/health-and-human-services)

Also opposing the bill in committee was Erika, a fourth-year medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She testified before committee: “This bill was invented out of emotion and not science. It interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and prevents physicians from practicing evidence-based medicine. It would deny Ohio women access to safe and legal abortion. If enacted into law, this bill would compromise my ability to care for my patients and to offer them the best medical care available.”


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

2, Blog Post

20-week abortion ban witness: Marla’s story

In committee before the Ohio Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Marla shared her story:

I am a happily married mother of three beautiful children. Last summer, my husband and I were thrilled to discover that we were pregnant with our fourth child – a boy we came to name Samuel. After yet another extremely uneventful and healthy pregnancy, my happiness was swallowed up by the unimaginable. During a routine ultrasound just after 20 weeks, my doctor started the conversation by telling us that Samuel’s heart was on the wrong side of his body. He went on with a long list of other profound issues: Samuel had a diaphragmatic hernia, his intestines and stomach were developing inside of his chest cavity, he was missing part of his brain, his lungs were just not developing inside his tiny little body, etc.

I cannot possibly put into words what that moment in my life felt like. That feeling was something that no parent should have to feel. Further testing revealed that Samuel suffered from a lethal chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 9. Trisomy 9 is not compatible with life.

Our options were laid out for us in very basic language. 1) We could continue the pregnancy. My body would quite possibly continue keeping Samuel alive for the next few months. When the pregnancy reached term, I would deliver Samuel and watch him suffocate to death in pain and agony. At 9 months, his little body would not work well enough for him to take a breath, or to cry, or to be held by his mother, but it would work well enough so that he could feel the pain of slowly dying while I watched. 2) I could end the pregnancy and give Samuel dignity knowing that he never felt pain or suffering – only that his parents loved him more deeply than anyone could ever imagine.

As we reached our decision on how to end Samuel’s short life I realized that whatever I chose, my ultimate goal was to make sure that my son never suffered in this life. I spoke with my doctors, my minister, my family and friends. But mostly I reached deep inside myself and I made my decision based on what was best for my son, my three living children, and myself and my husband. I decided to take Samuel off of his ‘life support’ and end the pregnancy.

Because one of the most important moments in my life involved bringing three beautiful children into this world, it was important to me to give Samuel that same opportunity. As I slowly began dealing with the fact that my son was never going to live the life that I had dreamed for him, I also started making my plans for his entry into this world. I wanted him born in a hospital. I wanted him baptized. I wanted to hold him immediately. I wanted as many pictures and memories as I could get in the few short hours that I would have with him.

But then reality slapped me in the face. I couldn’t do any of that in Ohio: it was illegal. My wishes to say goodbye to my son with love and dignity are apparently illegal. My doctor did her best to explain the laws to me, but even she seemed confused. Abortion after 20 weeks was a sensitive topic regardless of the reasons. I was given the opportunity to visit a wonderful clinic very close to my house to have a late term clinical abortion. It was convenient, very recommended, and the procedure was legal in Ohio up to 24 weeks for medical reasons – I was just over 22 weeks at that point. But I also couldn’t see my son, hold my son, or say good bye to my son. And that is something a mother should never be denied.

If I couldn’t provide Samuel with the life that I wanted for him as his parent, then I was going to make sure that I could provide him with the death that I wanted for him as his parent. With the help of my doctors, I was put in contact with an amazing hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where most of my wishes could be carried out. But then I realized that I would have to travel, leave all my friends and family, be away from my kids, and have my baby in a different state. The reality of what a family has to go through to do what they think is best for their baby is unfathomable to anyone who has never been in this situation. I would not wish it on anyone.

Ultimately traveling to Pittsburgh is what my husband and I chose to do. I went through the labor and brought our beautiful Samuel into the world and held him in my arms. My husband and I said our goodbyes and cherished the short memories we had of him. Then we made the longest drive ever back to our family.

A mother will protect her children with all that she has – even if that means driving to another state to see that a dignified life and death was achieved. And this mother is here in the name of her three living children and her dearly missed and loved fourth to ask that you stop the ban on 20 week abortions in the State of Ohio.


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

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2, Blog Post

**UPDATED** The Toledo Blade is ON IT.

UPDATE — The Blade published one last editorial before the budget is signed tomorrow. Scroll down for the latest.

We’ve never seen a newspaper rush to the defense of abortion rights in a community like the Toledo Blade has this month. Always outspoken, the Blade’s editorial board has watched and reacted with every assault on rights in Toledo. Northeast Ohio is a hotspot for anti-abortion activity. Before the transfer agreement restrictions were added to the 2013 budget, Ohio Right to Life and Rep. Lynn Wachtmann strong-armed the University of Toledo Medical Center to drop their transfer agreement with Capital Care. That story happened in the Blade’s backyard and they’ve maintained a constant vigil ever since.

We’ve seen frontline reporting and five — FIVE! — editorials in the last two weeks. Click on each link below to read more. We’ll update this post as needed.


Editorial: Assault on rights
6/8/15

Of all the outrageous attacks on women’s health-care choices that Ohio’s anti-abortion movement has advanced in recent years, its latest proposal — a bill that would outlaw abortion after a fetus is diagnosed with Down’s syndrome — is one of the most invasive and extreme yet. …

Leaders of Ohio Right to Life, one of the chief architects of the bill, frame it as a discrimination issue. This disingenuous justification masks the real goal of the anti-abortion movement: to claw back women’s right to choose.

Editorial: Exporting abortion
6/10/15

Because state laws also prohibit Medicaid and plans in the Ohio health insurance exchange from covering abortions, most women have to pay hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for an abortion out-of-pocket. That has significantly restricted the availability of medication abortion in Ohio, one of the safest and most affordable early-term abortion methods. Consequently, many Ohio women now come to Michigan seeking medication abortion. Ohio is one of just three states to approve such a Draconian law. …

The best solution, for pro and anti-choice Ohioans alike, is to reduce the need for abortions. That starts with making it easier — not more difficult — for women to control their reproductive health.

Editorial: Restore abortion rights
6/14/15

Abortion opponents hope to force another Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights. Indeed, it’s time for the court to step in. If the constitutional right to personal freedom means anything, it should mean the freedom to make decisions about one’s own body. The high court must clarify that now, and strike down invasive abortion laws in Ohio and elsewhere.

Report: Late provision may end Toledo’s abortion clinic
6/18/15

Capital Care Network, Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic, which has been fighting to remain open, may have received the final blow from the Ohio legislature on Wednesday. In a last-minute move, a provision was added to the $71.3 billion, two-year budget bill that is a direct reaction to a current court fight over the state’s attempt to shut down Capital Care.

Report: Toledo clinic to remain open
6/20/15

Finding that the state had “exceeded its constitutional authority,” a Lucas County judge ruled Friday that Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic may keep its doors open. Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart found that Capital Care Network may continue to operate its West Toledo clinic, concluding that Ohio’s law requiring abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with “local” hospitals was unconstitutional.

Editorial: Outlawing abortion
6/22/15

The Senate added these rules to the budget without debate or public input, because lawmakers know most Ohioans don’t support such Draconian restrictions on abortion. The reckless provisions could invite the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Ohio’s and other states’ unconstitutional abortion restrictions. The high court ruled in Roe vs. Wade in 1973 that women have a constitutional right to end an unwanted pregnancy, but extremist lawmakers in Ohio and across the country have ignored that decision. Many women must travel long distances, and cross state borders, to exercise their constitutional rights. If lawmakers want to open a debate about abortion laws, they ought to do so honestly, not by inserting 11th-hour amendments and hoping Ohioans won’t notice. Their dead-of-night efforts to shut down abortion access must end.

Editorial: Rights relief
6/23/15

The Kasich administration sought to shutter Capital Care Network under a 2013 law that requires abortion clinics to get so-called transfer agreements with local hospitals to handle emergencies. Capital Care Network has such an agreement with the University of Michigan Health System, 50 miles away, which the state argued is not local enough. Medical and legal authorities say there is no need for such a law, because abortion is among the safest medical procedures and hospitals already are required by federal law to admit patients in emergency cases. But neither science nor the Constitution is likely to deter state government’s anti-abortion agenda. Judge Duhart’s decision comes amid increased efforts by lawmakers and the administration to legislate abortion out of existence.

Editorial: Stop abortion extremism
6/28/15

As they did two years ago, Ohio lawmakers want to use the new state budget to trample on women’s constitutional right to safe, legal abortion. If their medically unsupported anti-abortion provisions become law, they almost certainly would shut down the only clinic that performs abortions in Toledo. Gov. John Kasich must use his line-item veto to reject these extreme measures.


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

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2, Blog Post

Victory in Toledo!

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The Court of Common Pleas of Lucas County has ruled in favor of Capital Care Network. Toledo’s last standing abortion clinic is staying open!

Donate to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio to continue the fight for reproductive rights in Ohio.

Judge Myron Duhart ruled that Governor Kasich’s scheme to abuse his regulatory authority is unconstitutional. Judge Duhart rejected the arguments made by Attorney General Mike DeWine. As a result, Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic, Capital Care Network, will remain open.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland: “Despite all the back-door deals, and shady maneuvering, John Kasich and Mike DeWine have failed in their crusade to effectively outlaw abortion in Toledo. This is great news for Toledo’s women and we congratulate Attorney Jennifer Branch, and the staff at Capital Care Network on their court victory today.”

“The Ohio legislature and John Kasich ought to read Judge Duhart’s ruling carefully. They should remove the provisions that they added at the 11th hour that target abortion clinics in the currently proposed budget. These measures are also likely to be found to violate the due process rights of abortion providers and be found unconstitutional. It’s time for Kasich and DeWine to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on their personal quest to outlaw abortion.”

The Honorable Judge Myron C. Duhart began his statement:

“It is now well-established in this country that “it is a constitutional liberty of the woman to have some freedom to terminate her pregnancy.”

He later ruled:

“In this case, the Court finds that the State has exceeded its constitutional authority in applying to Capital Care the current statutory scheme for licensing abortion centers contained in R.C. 3702.303 and 3702.304.” (Emphasis added.)

Capital Care is one of Ohio’s remaining eight abortion clinics, and this ruling helps protect them all. With today’s win, Ohio women have even more support in fending off attacks from politicians who oppose abortion rights.

Ruling from the Honorable Judge Myron H. Duhart:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/269146183/Case-No-CI0201403405


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, Video

Tell Kasich: Stop this attack on healthcare access.

TAKE ACTION

Dear Gov. John Kasich,

Remove the extreme attacks on abortion providers from the state budget immediately.

Abortion is a legal right. The Senate changes to the bill will make it impossible for abortion providers to serve women seeking a safe and legal procedure. This unconstitutional attack cannot remain in the budget.

The decision on whether to have a child, choose adoption, or have an abortion must be left to a woman, with the counsel of her faith, family, and chosen medical provider. There is no room for political interference in her decision.

Stop this attack on healthcare access.

Sincerely,

[Your name & address here]


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