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This week, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and ProgressOhio hosted a press conference with Rep. Stephanie Howse and Rep. Michelle Lepore-Hagan 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.
In this week’s episode of NARAL’s The Morning After, Gabe sits down with Kellie Copeland and Sandy Theis to discuss the need for a legislative solution.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland:
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. The bill joins the Abortion Access Without Apology legislation announced on October 1, 2015.
Video of the event is available from Ohio Capital Blog:
NARAL’s The Morning After is a production of NARAL Pro-Choice 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.