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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.