We’re Challenging Ohio Lawmakers’ Thinly Veiled Attempt to Push Abortion Out of Reach

Ohio politicians have launched yet another attack on women’s health and reproductive rights, and to make matters worse, they are mounting their attack in the guise of a concern for individuals with disabilities.

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of Preterm Cleveland and a number of other abortion care providers to challenge an unconstitutional abortion ban. The law, signed by Gov. John Kasich, would prevent a woman from ending a pregnancy because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. It does so by criminalizing any doctor who knowingly performs an abortion sought on that basis. The law, unless it is stopped by a court, would go into effect next month.

Although it’s packaged differently from the other 18 restrictions that Gov. Kasich signed before it, this ban is just another thinly veiled attempt to push abortion out of reach and interfere in a woman’s personal decision. It’s also unconstitutional — a federal court struck down a similar law in Indiana back in 2016.

Let’s make one thing clear: This law does nothing to honor or support families who decide to bring a special needs child into the world. It does not improve access to health care, education, or other services, nor does it do anything to address discrimination against people with disabilities. What this law does is to deny women’s constitutional right to make their own reproductive decisions, and it also interferes with women’s relationships with their doctors, by making it harder to have honest and informed conversations.

We can’t know all the factors behind a woman’s decision to continue or end a pregnancy. We can, however, ensure that a woman has the relevant information and resources she needs to make the decision that’s best for the circumstances of her pregnancy and for her family. Politicians should do everything in their power to make sure Ohio women have access to accurate medical information, resources, and the support necessary to raise their children with dignity. Instead, they’re passing laws that restrict a woman’s ability to have these critical conversations, while forcing doctors to interrogate their patients.

Emily Chesnut — the mother of seven-year-old Nora, who has Down syndrome — spoke at the press conference announcing the lawsuit. She said it best:

No parent should have to embark on this journey uninformed. They should be able to have a frank, honest conversation with their doctor about what it will mean to have a child with Down syndrome. They should have all the information and be encouraged to ask more questions, so they can make this very personal decision freely, without the presence of politicians in the exam room. This bill does nothing to help with that.

I understand that talking about Down syndrome tugs at heartstrings. I understand the fierce pride and protectiveness that parents of children with Down syndrome feel. I feel it too.

This bill is not about Down syndrome. It is not about protecting our children or making their lives better.

This bill is about putting another hurdle in front of women who have a constitutional right to make their own decisions about their bodies and their futures. As a mother, I will not stand for that.

If Ohio politicians do, in fact, want to support people with disabilities, there are many steps they could take. The government’s role should be to help level the playing field for people with disabilities, who face particular obstacles in getting health care, housing, education and other services. How about we start with improving those services?

View comments (12)
Read the Terms of Use

Gary E. Andrews

It seems people who object to Big Government just want to BE Big Government, sticking a Big Government Nose into citizens' most private and distressingly personal decisions.

Organized Crime must be very grateful for the efforts to hand them BACK the revenue stream they used to enjoy preying on desperate people who turned to them before abortion became a legal medical option for citizens. They're also in the business of human trafficking, blackmail, prostitution, and many other things that those seeking their help fall prey to. I'm sure there will be a little something extra in the politicians' secret envelopes for 'legalizing' their resumption of back-alley abortion services. Oh. And they've got plenty of doctors now, all those Perdue-Pharma Oxycontin Drug War pill pushers who government finally noticed after a couple decades and put out of business.


Yup Ohio politicians don't have the best interest of people with disability at heart. But you do don't you ACLU people? You, the once who are committed to their extermination or extermination of any child for the sake of "choice"!! You make me sick. Before you accuse me of being a bible-thumper male I am a Women and atheist.


Stay Informed