Blog Post

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio statement on #BlackPride4 protest

Columbus, Ohio — NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio cherishes Ohio’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities, and Ohio’s diverse communities of color. We are working to build a state where everyone has the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions and determine if, when, and with whom they have children or create a family. Black and transgender individuals are frequently targeted for violence, even by those who have sworn to protect and serve us all: the police. Reproductive freedom, nor reproductive justice, can be achieved unless this changes.

We call for all charges to be dropped for all individuals involved in protest at Columbus Pride.

The protesters were peaceably bringing attention the dangers faced by people of color in our nation. Fourteen trans women of color have been murdered this year, our country should take notice instead of averting our eyes and moving on. Black and transgender communities have been asking for solutions, and we have all failed to bring adequate assistance. This is a wake-up call we cannot ignore.

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Blog Post

Guess what’s back in the Statehouse…

Returning for a fourth consecutive legislative session, the six-week abortion ban has yet-again been introduced.

Help us defeat the most extreme abortion ban in the nation. Donate here.

As with previous versions, House Bill 258 would ban all abortions at the earliest detectable fetal heartbeat. This abortion ban would outlaw abortions just six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even know that they are pregnant.

Over the years, this unconstitutional abortion ban has been rejected by the Ohio Senate, the Ohio House, blocked by federal appeals courts, denied by the US Supreme Court, and most recently, vetoed by John Kasich.

When a woman needs access to abortion care, her biggest concern shouldn’t be political maneuvering by state legislators or the governor. All she wants is to obtain an affordable, safe, and legal procedure in her community. Shame on any politician who steps in her way.

Join the fight for reproductive rights for all Ohioans.

For choice,

Kellie Copeland
Executive Director
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Blog Post

NARAL testimony on HB 149

Testimony of Jaime Miracle, Deputy Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, to the House Health Committee opposing House Bill 149 on May 10, 2017.

Chairman Huffman, Ranking Member Antonio and members of the House Health committee, my name is Jaime Miracle. I am the Deputy Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. I am here to speak in opposition to HB 149 on behalf of our activists and members across Ohio.

Given that Ohio law currently restricts the donation of fetal tissue from abortion, such that no such donation programs exist in Ohio, H.B. 149 is a classic example of a solution in search of a problem. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and does exactly the opposite of what the sponsors and proponents say it does.

Last week Representative Merrin asked why abortion rights organizations would oppose this bill if it wouldn’t change the practices of providers in our state. In that, Rep. Merrin was correct. This bill will not change how abortion clinics operate, since no fetal tissue donation programs exist. Unlike the other 18 restrictions on abortion and other reproductive health care services that this legislature has passed, HB 149 will not close the doors of clinics in our state. Instead, we oppose this bill because it stigmatizes medical professionals who provide abortion care by creating a wholly separate set of laws governing the donation of fetal and embryonic tissue from abortion. This is directly contrary to proponents’ claims that HB 149 creates equality under the law.

State law restricts fetal tissue donation from abortion, which is why these programs currently do not exist in our state. Moreover, existing federal law controls how the donation of tissue can occur in the US and forbids all sale of tissue, whether fetal tissue from abortion, or tissue or organs from another source. Current law, both federally and in Ohio, does allow for the reimbursement of various expenses related to the donation of tissue. This practice occurs not only in the donation of fetal tissue, where programs exist in other states, but in other tissue donation programs as well. H.B. 149 will change this law, stating that if someone were to donate fetal tissue from abortion, these fees could not be collected. This bill will only change the practice for fetal tissue from abortion. Doctors and procurement agencies will still be able to charge these fees when a woman decides to donate fetal tissue following a miscarriage, for example, or if a cornea or tendon is donated following someone’s death. H.B. 149 sets up two separate systems of laws, one for fetal tissue from abortion, and another for all other tissue.

Not only does this bill create a separate set of laws for fetal tissue from abortion but it also sets up different laws based on who is processing the tissue. It creates one set of laws for the physician performing the abortion or a “person associated with” the physician, and another set of laws for anyone else who may be handling the tissue. Only the physician or someone associated with them are forbidden to receive compensation for services surrounding the donation of fetal tissue following an abortion. A procurement agency or another medical facility not owned or partnered with the physician who performed the abortion would not be covered under the same set of rules.

Over and over again proponents of this legislation have stated that H.B. 149 is simply about making the laws equal when it comes to these kinds of processes. As you can see, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If this bill were about treating these donations, wherever the tissue came from, with the dignity and respect that I think we all agree should be conferred, why is this bill singling out a certain type of tissue and a certain type of provider for regulations that others are not subject to?

Additionally, the codification of the anti-choice, pejorative term of “abortionist” reinforces this bill’s intent to stigmatize and shame physicians who provide abortion care and those who turn to them for health care services. We do not define other physicians by a single service that they provide, why then are we doing it for physicians who provide abortion services? A search in medical literature finds no reference to this term, but a simple google search shows that it appears time and time again on the websites of anti-abortion organizations. This unnecessary addition confirms the political nature of this bill and puts it in line with all the other restrictions this legislature has passed based on anti-abortion talking points rather than facts and medical science.

I would also like to clear up several misconceptions from testimony last week. In states where these donation programs exist the decision to donate this tissue begins and ends with the woman, not the physician performing the abortion. The woman gives her consent to the donation of the tissue, she is in control, and she makes the decision. In fact, federal law requires this consent. Tissue is not being donated without her knowledge.

There were also insinuations that we don’t know how clinics that were not part of the Ohio Attorney General’s investigation are handling fetal and embryonic tissue in Ohio. One just needs to turn to the Ohio Department of Health for all the information you need on this subject. All ambulatory surgical facilities, including those that provide abortion care, are inspected every year as required by law. The Ohio Department of Health is tasked with ensuring that these ambulatory surgical facilities handle this tissue properly, and there have been no citations for mishandling this tissue from the Ohio Department of Health. The state of Ohio already regulates these practices, again showing that we do not need additional, politically motivated, unnecessary, and stigmatizing legislation like H.B. 149. Thank you for your time today, I am happy 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

Blog Post

Trump’s first 100 days

Saturday marks the 100th day of the Trump administration. One glance at this horrifying journey through the past makes it clear just how much is at stake for women and families under the Trump presidency. The administration’s actions fly in the face of the millions of Americans who have rallied, marched, and called to support healthcare access, including a woman’s constitutional right to access abortion care. The fact that anti-choice groups have literally been standing side-by-side with Donald Trump the entire time should be evidence enough of this misogynist administration’s misplaced priorities.

Each step of the way, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio has been working to RESIST against the Trump agenda. Help us add 100 new members to our ranks before his 100th day.

Right out of the gate, Trump started making good on his promise to take away healthcare from millions of Americans and also take away access to affordable birth control from millions of women by authorizing agencies to start chipping away at the Affordable Care Act. He reinstated the “global gag rule,” and defunded the United Nations Population Fund.

By nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Trump delighted extreme anti-choice groups across the country. He has fulfilled his promise to appoint a justice dedicated to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Become a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio with your donation today.

For choice,

Kellie Copeland
Executive 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

Blog Post

GOP senators confirm Gorsuch, sacrifice integrity for political gain

After the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement:

In short order, the Gorsuch Court will rule on many issues that affect the daily lives of women, families, and working people in this country. Every single senator who voted to confirm this judge will own all of those decisions and what they mean for our constitutional rights in this country. When President Trump’s nominee could not meet the 60-vote threshold that has been used for more than 200 years, Senate Republicans made the choice to ram him through anyway by changing the rules instead of changing their unpopular nominee.

Senate Republicans did this despite the fact that Judge Gorsuch failed to demonstrate that he can represent the experience of all Americans while he serves on the Supreme Court. He is the most far-right Supreme Court nominee in a generation, handpicked by Donald Trump to help fulfill his campaign promise of overturning Roe v. Wade, increasing the power of dark money in our elections, and ensuring powerful businesses can trample the rights of American workers and their families. By marching in lock-step with Donald Trump and his dangerous agenda, Senate Republicans showed their true colors—a fact that Americans won’t soon forget.

The People’s Defense released the following statement:

Today is a sad day for all Americans, whose interests were given a backseat to partisan politics and our tainted president’s extreme agenda. The only way Senate Republicans were able to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court was by choosing to blow up 200 years of Senate tradition and changing the rules in the middle of the game. They even knew that the majority of Americans—their constituents—strongly opposed Republican efforts to ram President Donald Trump’s nominee through the process with the nuclear option. But they didn’t care. Instead, they sided with Trump over their constituents and put a man on the court with a demonstrated record of dismissing the basic freedoms of all Americans. This follows nearly a year of blocking the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for purely partisan reasons. They would be ashamed if that was an emotion they were capable of.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Women of all backgrounds have been in the crosshairs of every policy this Congress has pushed — from undermining maternity care to attacking Planned Parenthood to forcing through the confirmation of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch. There is a reason that women make up the core of the resistance. Too many people still face barriers to health care, especially young people, people of color, those who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes.  Women have made incredible gains, and we will not stand to see that progress walked back.  When members of Congress go home next week, they will have to answer for their positions on women’s health and rights, at their town halls, public appearances, and even at the corner store.


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

This I believe…

This essay was written by NARAL Pro-Choice Intern Cole Wojdacz three years ago when Barack Obama was still president and things were very different than they are now. These words were relevant then, and they are even more relevant in the current political climate. We need to build our community strength, our organizing power, our support systems, our collective voice use these tools to fight back against the realities we are now facing. We have at least four years of a Trump administration, we have two years still left with the Kasich administration, with the very real potential for four more years under a different conservative governor. We need to speak out, we need to show up, we need to donate time and money, and most importantly, we need to speak our truths.

Throughout my life, I have never been drawn to conflict. I will bend over backwards to make a losing situation into a win-win scenario. This has worked well for me; I make friends quickly and I usually feel at ease in many different situations. But in the summer of my 16th year, I learned that sometimes avoiding conflict could come at too high a price.

We were all hanging out in the basement, which was about ten degrees colder than was comfortable and everyone was engaged in the conversation. Draped over the tattered collection of cast-off furniture were five of my best friends; lanky teenage guys who were smart, funny, and always sweetly protective of me. As an only child, being treated as an honorary little sister is one of my all time favorite feelings. Everything was relaxed and normal until one of them knocked his full drink off the table and onto another guy’s backpack. The backpack owner turned to the clumsy one and called him a faggot. When I heard that word it was as if battery acid was being poured into my stomach. The word appalled me. I chose not to speak up for fear of alienating myself from this group of people, and I dwelled on this choice for the rest of the night. The use of that word, my least favorite word in the entire English language, made me lose respect for these guys that I had come to love. And even worse, it made me lose respect for myself because I didn’t voice my discomfort.

The next time it happened a little bit differently. Instead of using the word faggot someone said that something was gay, implying that it was stupid. The use of the word gay in a derogatory fashion, though not as immediately nauseating as the previous incident, brought the night to a halt for me. I remembered how I had felt before when that terrible f-word was used and how much it had cost me in self-respect when I failed to call out my friend. As I thought about that experience I realized something that I hadn’t before. I have to fight for what I believe in. This time, I spoke up. I told them that using that kind of language was homophobic and hateful, even if they didn’t mean it that way, and that it was not okay with me. They were taken aback at first and didn’t really take me seriously, but at that point, the ice was broken. I was now able to confidently raise the issue of offensive language whenever it was necessary. I learned to let people know how much it bothered me, and, in general people really tried to change the way they spoke. This highlighted the fact that many people often just don’t think about what they’re saying. Most people don’t mean to be homophobic; they just don’t know any better and haven’t thought about what these words actually mean. My new, hard won habit of speaking these truths also elicited a change in me. I was no longer afraid of the judgment of others. The pride that I felt in advocating for what I found important allowed me to begin to feel comfortable doing it in all settings — formal or informal, with adults and peers alike. It helped me find the self-confidence that I had lost previously, and become the advocate that I am proud to be today.

This experience opened my eyes to two things I now consider to be fundamental to the way I want to live my life. The first being that I must stand up for the things that I believe in, because I can’t count on anyone else to do it. The second is that, though it might be risky or uncomfortable, you must always, without fail, speak your truth.

This essay was written by NARAL Pro-Choice Intern Cole Wojdacz three years ago when Barack Obama was still president and things were very different than they are now. These words were relevant then, and they are even more relevant in the current political climate. We need to build our community strength, our organizing power, our support systems, our collective voice use these tools to fight back against the realities we are now facing. We have at least four years of a Trump administration, we have two years still left with the Kasich administration, with the very real potential for four more years under a different conservative governor. We need to speak out, we need to show up, we need to donate time and money, and most importantly, we need to speak our truths.

Throughout my life, I have never been drawn to conflict. I will bend over backwards to make a losing situation into a win-win scenario. This has worked well for me; I make friends quickly and I usually feel at ease in many different situations. But in the summer of my 16th year, I learned that sometimes avoiding conflict could come at too high a price.

We were all hanging out in the basement, which was about ten degrees colder than was comfortable, and everyone was engaged in the conversation. Draped over the tattered collection of cast-off furniture were five of my best friends; lanky teenage guys who were smart, funny, and always sweetly protective of me. As an only child, being treated as an honorary little sister is one of my all time favorite feelings. Everything was relaxed and normal until one of them knocked his full drink off the table and onto another guy’s backpack. The backpack owner turned to the clumsy one and called him a faggot. When I heard that word it was as if battery acid was being poured into my stomach. The word appalled me. I chose not to speak up for fear of alienating myself from this group of people, and I dwelled on this choice for the rest of the night. The use of that word, my least favorite word in the entire English language, made me lose respect for these guys that I had come to love. And even worse, it made me lose respect for myself because I didn’t voice my discomfort.

The next time it happened a little bit differently. Instead of using the word faggot someone said that something was gay, implying that it was stupid. The use of the word gay in a derogatory fashion, though not as immediately nauseating as the previous incident, brought the night to a halt for me. I remembered how I had felt before when that terrible f-word was used and how much it had cost me in self-respect when I failed to call out my friend. As I thought about that experience I realized something that I hadn’t before. I have to fight for what I believe in. This time, I spoke up. I told them that using that kind of language was homophobic and hateful, even if they didn’t mean it that way, and that it was not okay with me. They were taken aback at first and didn’t really take me seriously, but at that point, the ice was broken. I was now able to confidently raise the issue of offensive language whenever it was necessary. I learned to let people know how much it bothered me, and, in general people really tried to change the way they spoke. This highlighted the fact that many people often just don’t think about what they’re saying. Most people don’t mean to be homophobic; they just don’t know any better and haven’t thought about what these words actually mean. My new, hard won habit of speaking these truths also elicited a change in me. I was no longer afraid of the judgment of others. The pride that I felt in advocating for what I found important allowed me to begin to feel comfortable doing it in all settings — formal or informal, with adults and peers alike. It helped me find the self-confidence that I had lost previously, and become the advocate that I am proud to be today.

This experience opened my eyes to two things I now consider to be fundamental to the way I want to live my life. The first being that I must stand up for the things that I believe in, because I can’t count on anyone else to do it. The second is that, though it might be risky or uncomfortable, you must always, without fail, speak your truth.


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 budget testimony

Deputy Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Jaime Miracle testified before the House Finance Subcommittee on Health & Human Services on the state budget, House Bill 49 on March 22, 2017. This is a transcript of her remarks:

My name is Jaime Miracle and I am the deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. I am here to testify on behalf of our over 50,000 members and activists on the Medicaid, ODJFS, and other healthcare related portions of H.B. 49.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio applauds the state for continuing its investments in the prevention of infant mortality. We encourage this body to effectively fund evidence-based programs that reduce health disparities and lower our embarrassing infant mortality rate. But, at the same time that the state is investing funding in these programs, it is promoting other policies that undermine the progress that could be made.

Charging premiums for Medicaid recipients between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty line is not a turn in the right direction. Increasing the cost of healthcare through premiums decreases the use of health care services (footnote 1) . For childless adults making between $11,880 and $16,400 a year, an additional cost — even of just $20 a month — can present an insurmountable obstacle for accessing health care, and will disproportionately impact people of color in our state, who already face a myriad of racial disparities in health.

Ohio should be in the business of reducing racial disparities in health, not increasing them.

The Centers for Disease Control has identified six key strategies to reduce infant mortality. Two of these strategies are improving women’s health before pregnancy and investing in prevention and health promotion (2). The state is investing more and more funds in programs to help pregnant women be healthy and to take care of women and newborns following the birth of a child, but this is only a part of what needs to be happening to reduce our infant mortality rate. Making sure childless adult women have access to the preconception care they need, making sure chronic illness is managed properly, and making sure that racial disparities of health are minimized are crucial to making real gains in our infant mortality crisis.

Another strong investment we could make would be to re-instate the family planning optional Medicaid program that was eliminated in the 2015 budget. This program not only improves the health and well-being of citizens of our state, it also makes financial sense. For every dollar invested in family planning services, we save seven dollars in other costs (3). In Ohio in 2010, the federal and state governments spent $824.6 million on unintended pregnancies, of this $218.8 million was paid for by the state (4). But that number could have been much greater. Publicly funded family planning services provided by safety-net health centers in Ohio helped save the federal and state governments $226.9 million in that year alone (5). Recognizing that family planning access is critical to the health and well-being of women and babies, both the National Governor’s Association and the March of Dimes have advocated for expanded Medicaid coverage for contraceptive services (6).

I also urge this panel to eliminate funding for the Parenting and Pregnancy Program in this budget. You may be wondering why I would be advocating for that based on the rest of my testimony so far. This program sounds like a great idea, but as they always say, the devil is in the details. State money should be going to programs that have proven track records for effectiveness. This program is not one of those. The Parenting and Pregnancy Program, funded out of the TANF block grant, gives funding to unproven, misleading, and coercive organizations known as “crisis pregnancy centers” or CPCs. TANF block grant money is one of the few remaining places where low income women and families can turn when they need emergency cash assistance. It can be used in a variety of ways, including helping low income families get out of lead contaminated homes. We need to use this money where it has the most impact, not give it to unproven programs.

In a 2013 study into the practices of these centers (7), our undercover investigators found that these centers routinely gave out medically inaccurate information. Thirty-eight percent of CPCs gave misleading information about complication rates for abortion. Forty-seven percent of CPCs gave false information about the non-existent connection between mental health and addiction issues, and abortion. Less than half of the centers were up front about what they stand for; and although they are getting this funding for providing material assistance to low income women and children, most CPCs provided limited material assistance. More than a third of centers had time consuming eligibility requirements, forcing women to earn “baby bucks” by attending parenting classes, volunteering at the center, or even attending Bible study classes. A low-income woman working three jobs to make ends meet doesn’t need to spend two hours in a parenting class before she can get a pack of diapers.

These are not the types of places that should be funded with our tax money.

Women facing an unintended pregnancy deserve medically accurate information presented in an unbiased and non-coercive manner. The state should not be in the business of sending our limited tax dollars to centers that deceive and lie to the people seeking their help. Finally, I urge this committee and all the members of the legislature to not continue to use the state budget as a weapon to attack access to abortion care in our state. These unconstitutional attacks have already been blocked by two Lucas County courts and two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of attacks on abortion access contained in the 2013 state budget are headed to the Ohio Supreme Court in the next few months. I encourage this body to stick to the issues that the state budget is supposed to cover, and not continue to misuse state tax dollars passing unconstitutional “Christmas tree” budget bills that violate our state constitution’s single subject clause.

Thank you for your time today.


  1. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, “Financial Condition and Health Care Burdens of People in Deep Poverty,” United States Department of Health and Human Services, July 16, 2015
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6231a3.htm
  3. http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/family-planning/pdf/OH.pdf
  4. Frost JJ, Frohwirth L and Zolna MR, Contraceptive needs and services, 2014 Update, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2016, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/contraceptive-needs-and-services-2014-update
  5. Frost JJ, Sonfield A, Zolna MR, and Fiener LB, Return on Investment: a fuller assessment of the benefits and cost savings of the US publicly funded family planning program, Millbank QuarterlyI, 2014, 92(4):696-749
  6. Guttmacher Institute, Wise Investment: Reducing the Steep Cost to Medicaid of Unintended Pregnancy in the United States, 2011, https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/14/3/gpr140306.html
  7. You can read the full report of this investigation at: http://www.prochoiceohio.org/what-is-choice/cpc/reporttext.shtml

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