Blog Post

Thoughts from our Political Director on #MeToo

The past week, the hashtag #MeToo has been trending. What is #MeToo? It’s men and women detailing their sexual assault or sexual harassment and letting others know that they are not alone. It’s showing how we can come together to deal with the everyday problems that are becoming all too normal for our society. It’s expressing the volume of how prevalent these acts of violence are and how many choose to stay silent for whatever reason that may be. It’s showing others that they can be brave and speak out against their attacker. It’s telling us that as a society we can and should do better because no one deserves to feel ashamed.

We have seen it happen time and time again where those with more power use their power to maliciously get what they want. Unfortunately, that also includes rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. The hashtag #MeToo explains to victims that their stories are valid, their feelings are valid, and that they didn’t ask to be hurt sexually no matter what the circumstances were. Those who use their position to hurt someone else often do it over and over again without repercussions. It’s time we start holding these individuals accountable for their sick actions. Many people do not speak up out of fear of violence, victim shaming, retaliation, or that it may cost them their career that they worked so hard for or hasn’t even started yet. This is not okay!

We should not be a society that teaches it’s okay to sexually assault or harass someone. We should not be a society that elects a man President of the United States who brags about grabbing women by the p*ssy. We should not be a society that is teaching our youth that this type of behavior is okay instead of holding those fully accountable and responsible for their actions. What kind of message are we really sending?

Most of us are taught right from wrong as children in our households but as we get older society teaches us a whole new set of rules. Keep quiet, don’t rock the boat, women are less equal than men therefore our feelings aren’t valid, don’t bring yourself negative attention by standing up for yourself. No wonder so many people choose to stay quiet and suffer in silence. It’s horrific to think that individuals as young as kids have to hide this deep dark secret of being molested, raped, or sexually harassed usually by someone they know and trusted. They have more fear about speaking out than they do about how this might affect them in the long run. What kind of society are we? The kind that condones this type of behavior or the kind that says enough is enough!

For Choice,

Vashitta Johnson
Field and Political Director
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.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

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Podcasts

Podcast: DeWine & Santorum

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This week, Gabe, Kelley, and Annie discuss Mike DeWine’s anti-choice extremism. Thursday, DeWine appeared with Rick Santorum at a campaign stop meant to highlight his disdain for reproductive rights.

We also talk about the #MeToo grassroots movement to raise a widespread understanding of the scale of America’s problem of sexual harassment and assault.


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

Mike DeWine Trying to Punish Teenager in Texas

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has joined AGs from six other states in trying to block a young woman from obtaining an abortion in Texas. In a press release justifying his actions, DeWine’s campaign blatantly lied about abortion funding — in truth, private funding has been secured for the young woman.

SIGN THIS PETITION AGAINST DEWINE’S AGENDA

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit to force government officials to permit the minor, who is an immigrant, access to abortion care. DeWine signed onto an amicus brief against the effort to assist the 17 year old woman. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, is refusing to allow pregnant minors in its custody to obtain abortion care and is forcing unaccompanied minors who decide to have an abortion to submit to anti-abortion “counseling” from so-called crisis pregnancy centers. The woman — identified as Jane Doe — may be up to 14 weeks’ pregnant, according to her attorney, Rochelle Garza. Texas law prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks. Further delay could push her into the second trimester.

Speaking against DeWine’s interference, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said:

Mike DeWine has bent over backwards to punish women in Ohio, and now he’s interfering in the medical care of a young woman in Texas. His actions are immoral. There is no reason this refugee should have to pay the price for his anti-choice agenda. DeWine has sunk so low that he’s fundraising off his efforts to block this young woman from accessing a privately funded abortion.

DeWine’s campaign solicited donors with this message: “American taxpayers should not pay for illegal aliens to get abortions,” but in fact, an advocacy organization, Jane’s Due Process, worked with local abortion funds to obtain funding for the procedure.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has refused to release Doe for medical care, even to her court-appointed guardian ad litem. The actions of the federal government have now delayed Doe’s access to abortion care for three weeks – past the time for her to obtain the less intrusive medication abortion.

Copeland continued:

Mike DeWine has used his position as Ohio’s attorney general to oppose access to birth control coverage for women who receive their health insurance from a religiously affiliated employers, and he launched a high profile investigation of Planned Parenthood that ultimately discovered that they were following all state and federal laws. There may be no other politician in Ohio more determined to abuse his elected office for the sole purpose of blocking women’s access to reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion care, than Mike DeWine.

The ORR blocked the young woman from receiving unbiased pregnancy options counseling and an accurate confirmation of the stage of her pregnancy at the nearby state-licensed abortion clinic. Instead, ORR forced caseworkers at the shelter to take Doe to a religious doctor for counseling and a pregnancy test.


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

Testifying against the latest abortion ban in Ohio.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Deputy Director Jaime Miracle testified against the Down syndrome abortion ban bill, HB 214.

Chairman Huffman, Vice Chairwoman Gavarone, Ranking Member Antonio, and members of the House Health Committee, my name is Jaime Miracle. I am the deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. I am here to speak in opposition to H.B. 214 on behalf of our more than 40,000 activists and members in Ohio.Chairman Huffman, Vice Chairwoman Gavarone, Ranking Member Antonio, and members of the House Health Committee, my name is Jaime Miracle. I am the deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. I am here to speak in opposition to H.B. 214 on behalf of our more than 40,000 activists and members in Ohio.

Since the first version of this bill was introduced several years ago, supporters have claimed this legislation is not about abortion. Although I respect the convictions of these people, I must unequivocally disagree. If this bill is not about abortion, why is its sole purpose banning the provision of abortion services to a specific group of women in our state? Why is the only criminal punishment in this bill the criminalization of doctors who provide abortion care? The true motive of this bill is the same as all the other abortion bans recently enacted, or under consideration by the Ohio Legislature: in the short-term, to limit access to a health care procedure; and in the long term, to ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, making abortion illegal in our country. Just like many of those other proposals, this bill is an unconstitutional restriction on pre-viability abortion. A federal judge in Indiana has just permanently blocked a similar bill in our neighboring state.

Beyond the unconstitutionality of H.B. 214, we have serious concerns about the imprecise language used in this bill. As written, this bill would forbid a physician from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion if “the person has knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion, in whole or in part,” due to a “test result indicating Down syndrome,” a “prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome,” or “any other reason to believe” the fetus has Down syndrome.

How would the court define “knowledge” and what would be considered “any other reason to believe” the fetus had Down syndrome? Would a doctor have cause to believe any woman over age 40 (who, because of advanced maternal age, has a higher risk of having a child with Down syndrome) would possibly be terminating the pregnancy because of a potential Down syndrome diagnosis? How would a doctor be able to prove that he or she had no reason to believe this was the case? Would “knowledge” include knowing that a woman had a diagnostic test for Down syndrome without knowing the outcome of the test? Or would “knowledge” only be if the woman specifically told the doctor she was having the abortion at least in part because of a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis?

What if a woman had received a potential Down syndrome diagnosis and decided to carry the pregnancy to term, but then something else happened to complicate either her health or the health of the fetus? Would this bill block a doctor from being able to provide lifesaving abortion care to a pregnant woman in crisis just because her medical record shows a positive test result for Down syndrome? This bill has absolutely no protections for a doctor treating a woman in a life-threatening situation or a condition that threatens her long-term health. What happens to that woman when her doctor’s hands are tied by this Ohio General Assembly? Or what about a pregnancy where Down syndrome and another more serious life-threatening condition is present in the fetus. Does the Down syndrome diagnosis still count as “in part” for the woman deciding to have an abortion and block a doctor from carrying out her wishes to end a pregnancy that will never end in a live baby?

This type of uncertainty would create a chilling effect on the medical profession in Ohio. Doctors would face a fourth-degree felony and the loss of their medical license if they thought they followed the law, but a local prosecutor decided that they didn’t do enough to fit the prosecutor’s interpretation of the definition of “knowledge” or they treated a woman who was in a medical crisis of her own or her fetus where a Down syndrome diagnosis was also present.

When a woman faces a complicated medical diagnosis during pregnancy there are a million things that go through her mind. Some of the questions she will try to answer include:

  • Can I raise a child with disabilities?
  • Do I have access to health care?
  • Are there services for people with disabilities in my community?
  • Can I take the time off work needed to take care of my child?
  • Do I have maternity leave so that my child and I can figure out this complicated diagnosis?
  • Do I have access to specialists to help my child develop, as well as medical professionals to treat possible medical complications?
  • Does my school system have adequate programs in place to educate my child so that they can grow to their full potential?
  • Do I have the support system I need to navigate this new world?

Does this legislation help address any of these issues? No, it does not. The future of Medicaid expansion in Ohio remains uncertain. This is a program that families across the state who have children with special needs rely on to help take care of their children’s complicated healthcare needs. Congress has failed to re-authorize the CHIP child health program, leaving the future of coverage for 9 million children and pregnant women at risk. During the debate on how to “repeal and replace” the affordable care act, Congress proposed completely eliminating the Medicaid expansion and instead providing block grants to states to run the program. These block grants would have woefully underfunded the Medicaid program and, according to disability rights groups across the nation, left millions without the healthcare services they needed. Thirteen of the 19 sponsors of H.B. 214 are also sponsors or co-sponsors of H.C.R 6, a resolution that urges congress to eliminate the Medicaid expansion in the ACA and replace it with block grants that will leave people with disabilities without the care and coverage they need.

According to the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, special education funding in Ohio fell $210 million dollars short of what was needed. Our nation as a whole, and specifically our state, falls woefully behind in the provision of paid leave for workers. How are these families supposed to be able to take care of a child with special needs when 45.9% of workers in our state have no access to paid leave, forcing a parent to have to choose between their child’s needs and losing their job?

If the Ohio General Assembly truly wants to address the needs of families raising children with special needs, these are the issues that should be addressed. We at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio strongly encourage you to do so.

During a pregnancy, a woman can be faced with many deeply personal and often complex decisions. Ultimately, decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child must be left to the woman and the counsel of those she trusts–her family, her health care provider, and her faith community—not the legislature. Thank you for this opportunity to address your committee. I urge you to vote no on H.B. 214 and am happy to try to answer any questions you may have.


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

Podcast: Counter-protesting the Anti’s

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This week, Gabe, Kelley, and Annie discuss the anti-abortion extremist group Created Equal, who we counter-protested at Capital University this week. We shot the above Facebook Live video outside the protest.

We also talked about the recent Down syndrome abortion ban hearing. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Deputy Director Jaime Miracle testified against the bill, along with parents, physicians, and clergy.


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

Podcasts

More work to do in October

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This week, Stephanie, Elaina, and Gabe discuss Trump’s failure to adequately address multiple tragedies in the last month. In place of meaningful action, Congress got to work on a 20-week abortion ban.

The Ohio Senate is considering a re-appointment of Mike Gonidakis to the State Medical Board and there couldn’t be a worse idea. Send an email to the Ohio Senate to ask them to oppose this appointment.


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

Uniting to Expose CPCs

The activist community in Akron has grown through grassroots organizing a lot in the past year. Pro-choice affiliated groups have morphed into succinct forces of escorts at clinics, active student advocates, and conglomerations of folks from Akron, Kent, and the surrounding areas gathering otherwise to address a need in our communities to identify and dismantle all barriers to reproductive health access.

This summer and fall, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio turned our eye towards CPCs, aka Crisis Pregnancy Centers. With the help of our intern, Carol, who had been thoroughly investigating many of these centers, we held several gatherings to discuss the number of fake clinics in the greater Akron area. Over 30 of them operate in Summit, Portage, and Stark counties. Carol told us about what it’s like to visit some of them. This included a particularly nefarious institution called Pregnancy Solutions and Services. Armed with pamphlets we created over from the meetings listing actual medically-accurate pro-choice support resource for any reproductive-related challenge or choice, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and our allies descended upon the clinic in protest this past Saturday.

We learned what it’s like to be coerced into keeping an unwanted pregnancy via Carol’s testimony. We learned that this center, like many, employs medically inaccurate messaging to coerce women through guilt into keeping their baby. Pregnancy Solutions and Services not only discourages abortion, but adoption as well in favor of full coercive parenthood messaging. They ended her counseling appointment by praying with hands on her stomach for fifteen minutes while lighting a Virgin Mary candle in a room they locked her into.

We are concerned for the safety of the people who visit these places in the hopes of obtaining help of some kind. NARAL is committed to informing Northeast Ohio this coming fall about what other options there are, no matter what outcome of an unintended pregnancy. To get involved in the campaign, email annie@prochiceohio.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