Ohio Lawmakers Ignored Us When They Banned Abortion. They Can’t Ignore Us in the Courtroom.

Last month, Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Ohio Legislature’s abortion ban into law. The law recklessly prohibits abortions starting around six weeks. As an abortion provider, I can tell you this is, in fact, a ban on all abortions in Ohio. Approximately 90% of abortions in Ohio take place at or after six weeks. Before six weeks, most people do not even know they are pregnant.

In defense of people across Ohio, I knew that our clinic couldn’t stand by and do nothing while politicians intrude on one of the most private and personal decisions an individual can make. That’s why this week, my clinic, Preterm in Cleveland, joined our partners at the ACLU and Planned Parenthood to announce that we are challenging Ohio’s law banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy on behalf of our physicians, staff, board, and patients.

In banning abortion, Gov. DeWine and the legislature sent a clear message to Ohioans. They’re telling those who would seek or consider abortion that their personal decisions do not matter. They’re telling them that their futures do not matter. They’re telling them that their past traumas do not matter. They’re telling them that they do not matter.

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Every day at Preterm, women, pregnant people, and their loved ones walk through our doors needing compassion, empathy, support, and safe, affordable abortion care. They come to us because they know they will be cared for as whole people, without judgment or shame.

The patient struggling to make ends meet. The family who doesn’t have health insurance. The young person who needs help talking to their parents or is too afraid to. The single mom who is doing her best to care for the children she has. They are all our patients.

Each person’s story is unique, their circumstances are theirs alone. Take a recent patient who drove over nine hours to see us. She didn’t have an abortion clinic or a safe place to go in her hometown. She and her partner came to us needing financial assistance. They came to us needing compassion, and they came to us needing a safe abortion. They found it all at Preterm and told us they had no regrets.

We know firsthand that the decision of whether or when to become a parent and how many children to have are some of the most important life decisions we make. When people can make decisions that are best for their lives, families thrive, and we build communities where each of us can participate with dignity and respect.

When Gov. DeWine decided to sign the bill into law, we knew we had to both continue to provide care and defend access to that care — we knew it was time to join forces with our friends at the ACLU and other abortion providers and sue.

Politicians make it nearly impossible for women and people who can become pregnant in Ohio to make personal, healthy decisions about their pregnancies. When care is unavailable, the harm falls hardest on those struggling financially or those who already face significant barriers to health care — young people, people of color, people in poverty, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and people of varying immigration status.

Like when a young woman from a rural county in Ohio came to us needing abortion care. She was alone, with only her car and a few dollars. Our volunteers were there to help her past the protesters. Our staff was there to help her navigate paperwork and legal hurdles. Our staff was there to help her get the financial help she needed for her care.

And when our staff left the building that night and noticed her sitting alone in her car, they were there to help her find a safe place to stay and to help her pay for it. The next day, they held her hand and gave her the safe abortion she asked for.

Patients often thank us for treating them like human beings, for seeing their whole lives — their struggles, their successes, their vulnerabilities, and their triumphs. Ohio politicians do not see whole people’s lives. They do not understand the hurdles, the complexities, and the deep decisionmaking that each of our patients faces. And if some do, they simply don’t care.

This abortion ban was passed despite opposition from expert physicians who provide abortion care and comprehensive OBGYN services. Politicians ignored the testimony of nurses, social workers, and other medical experts who know that abortion is safe and that access to abortion care is critical to public health. Ohio politicians ignored the voices of the people who are closest to the issue, including the voices of those who have received abortions. But they cannot ignore us in the courtroom.

Women and people who can become pregnant in Ohio need access to abortion care. They need it in whatever way they see fit. They need it to be affordable. They need it without crossing state lines. They need it from healthcare providers in their community whom they trust. That is why, with our friends at the ACLU, we are taking on this unconscionable, dangerous abortion ban. We are, now and always, committed to fighting to keep abortion legal, available, and free of shame and judgment.

Chrisse France is the executive director of Preterm, an independent, nonprofit abortion and sexual health clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

What's the matter with those people in Ohio? Next thing you know they will be banning marijuana?

Anonymous

You're gonna lose lol.

Solomon Gibson III

Roe v. Wade Needs To Be Retired, and Here's Why

To begin, this is not a diatribe against reproductive choice. While men should be more than willing to get involved in the decision making, the ultimate choice belongs to the woman; indeed, anyone with the ability to physically walk away from the “situation” should not have equal say, if any at all.
The reason for the title stems from a reading of the “groundbreaking” ruling and realizing a potentially more long-lasting solution to this issue.

Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Revolutionary for the times, the fight against it has not ceased since the original ruling, with state governments crafting legal workarounds, forced closing of clinics, and people in fear of its loss almost every time a new Supreme Court justice is chosen. The emotional pendulum that women go through seems exhausting and unfair; there has to be a final legal solution, and there is that possibility; more accessible than the high bar of a constitutional amendment.

Extremely flawed, the Roe decision reflected the common sociopolitical attitude of the times. Indeed, the Supreme Court seemed to have searched for, and crafted, constitutional reasoning to custom fit a predisposed ruling. While giving a right to privacy (unspecified in the Constitution), the ruling only does so for the first trimester, then allows the state to become more involved as the pregnancy progresses. This serves, in effect, as an acceptance that at some point the fetus (unborn) is a person (or can be accepted as one by the states); thus, allowing rights to be conveyed. This meant that for a specific time in their lives, women could lose their right of privacy, to physical autonomy, for nearly 6 months. Given the limitations placed on women's choice, it is difficult to deny the conservative moral position that if the fetus has rights for nearly 2/3 of the pregnancy, why not its entirety?

It seems the argument over abortion has been skewed, even wrong. It should never have been about (irresponsible) women versus (dead) babies, but 'the rights of women' compared to 'the rights of men'. No state or federal institution has any legal control over a male's personal medical decisions or how his body can be accessed/used by another; men had/have almost complete decision-making power. Currently, Roe says this is not true for women. Under normal/standard circumstances, what other category of people, under our laws, consistently loses any of its basic rights? How could men have near complete control, but not women? Legally speaking, the babies, born or unborn, should not be, necessarily, relevant.

The answer seems to be Equal Protection Under the Law, contained in the 14th amendment.
Crafted during Reconstruction, it, initially, applied to the freed slaves, but has been expanded over the years to apply to all American citizenry, guaranteeing that everyone has, and are ruled by, the same basic constitutional rights.

Although the Right to Privacy is not spelled out in the Constitution, the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut ruling, using the 1st, 5th, and 9th amendments, codified it as a basic human right. With this decision, and the expansion of the 14th amendment in 1971's Reed v. Reed ruling, it would seem hard to argue against women having the same legal Right to Privacy as men. Therefore, if no institutional entities can command, force, or limit, a male's decision-making power over his body, there should be no such control exercised with a female's. Unless government institutions become legally allowed to extract blood, or bone marrow, or a kidney, for life-saving purposes against a man's will, then, by law, they should not have the authority to make a woman carry a pregnancy to term against her will; in effect, donating her body for another.

Clearly, if a fetus is legally classed as a person/individual, under our laws, it only has the ability to use a body at the consent of the “owner”. If the fetus is not, by law, designated as a person/individual, then it has no rights under the Constitution.

The logic of it all seems simple, obvious, flawless; the reasoning sound. If true, how could this have been missed? In over 40 years, why has no one tried this strategy? One thought: the accepted default of who the Constitution covers/represents is White male.
Additionally, the Supreme Court, intentionally, avoided using the 14th amendment for its ruling; logic would indicate this is because it would have been too inflexible. Utilizing the Right to Privacy allowed transference, and greater flexibility, to the states. Basically, the justices punted; while conveying limited choice, their ruling also diffused the growing movement toward the ERA, and fired up the anti-choice contingent. The effects of that have been obvious, Roe v. Wade, in its own way, preserves the pro-life movement.

In any case, if the legal argument is viable, it could end the reproductive rights debate, as far as the law is concerned, for all time, in favor of choice; Roe v. Wade becomes moot, as it should. Fear concerning each new Supreme Court Justice would lessen; after all, it's hard to imagine that most judges, conservative or liberal, would seriously rule that, constitutionally, women have less rights than men. The ramifications from codifying into law that mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, wives, and girlfriends are all second-class citizens would be, understandably, catastrophic; implementing wholesale revolution, making passage of the ERA obviously necessary and easier.
The energy used to fight for the long-standing legal issues surrounding choice could, then, be channeled elsewhere.

--Solomon Gibson III

Anonymous

No, you're wrong. Milkshake coming your way for lying to the public

Anonymous

When is the Cleveland demonstration???
And whom should we write to and call?

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