Dems Again Vow To Fight More Restrictive Abortion Laws
Democrats and abortion rights groups say they will fight the Republican controlled Ohio legislature over pending bills that would further restrict abortions. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.
About two dozen lawmakers and supporters of abortion rights stood on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse, holding signs. They spoke out against sixteen abortion restrictions that have been put in place since Governor Kasich took office. Democratic State Representative Greta Johnson says she and the others are fed up.
“We are not damsels in distress tied to railroad tracks. We are the train and we are carrying the message that we will not tolerate further infringement of our constitutionally protected right to abortion care,” Johnson said.
Democratic Representative Janine Boyd compared the Republican majority that has passed recent restrictions to fathers who don’t support their children.
“You can’t be there at conception to tell a woman what she can or can’t do and then not be there when the child is growing, developing, in need, hungry, in a failing charter school, in a community where there are no longer any residential requirements that will help his or her Mother or Father have a job in a publicly funded project. You can’t be that person. Otherwise, you are just a deadbeat Dad,” Boyd said.
Some of those speaking said women seeking abortions are going to other states and are afraid many will start resorting to home or back alley abortions. And abortion rights backers criticized a bill now under consideration that would ban abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis is made and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. That organization’s Ohio Director, Stephanie Kight, said thousands of Ohioans depend on its clinics every day.
“Governor Kasich and politicians in Ohio are trying to block women from getting cancer screenings, birth control, H-I-V tests and other critical health care at Planned Parenthood,” Kight said.
But Katie Franklin with Ohio Right to Life said community health clinics that provide some of those services should receive tax dollars - not Planned Parenthood.
“Taxpayer dollars are still going to an organization that makes up a third of Ohio’s abortion industry. They are still going to that brand. They are still being channeled into an organization whose agenda is abortion on demand without apology,” Franklin said.
Franklin said the abortion restrictions that have been put in place by the Ohio Legislature in recent years are working.
“All of Ohio’s abortions have been going down. For the last 15 years or so, abortions have decreased in Ohio by 1,000 per year. So there are real results and real lives that we are seeing saved,” Franklin said.
Franklin said she didn’t think these new laws and bills now in question encourage women to seek out of state or back alley abortions.
“Well obviously, we don’t want that but we think we have to provide women with real alternatives. So Ohio Right to Life promotes our 180 pregnancy centers across the state. We want to give women resources, a community of support. The choice is not either between abortion on demand or back alley abortions,” Franklin said.
The fight over abortion is paramount now as the Down Syndrome abortion ban moves through the legislative process. Governor Kasich says he’ll sign it into law if it is passed. Still, Democrats are introducing six new bills. Some of those would undo recent laws restricting abortion while others would provide protection for women seeking the procedures and doctors who perform them.