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New Year, New Opponents: the Ohio 20 Week Ban

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February 4, 2015

state-flag-of-ohioThe year seemed to have ended positively in Ohio for reproductive justice legislation with the rejection of fetal “heartbeat” House Bill 248 in the House. This year does not seem to be shaping up to be any calmer for RJ advocates. The state of Ohio and the nation faces many more threats of legislation that attempt to restrict abortion.

Earlier this week, we saw a proposal by abortion opponents to introduce a 20-week ban on care. This would mean that 20-weeks after gestation, a person would not be able to terminate their pregnancy. In 2011, Ohio’s governor John Kasich was able to pass a ban on abortions in the state after 24-weeks and the new push for 20-week bans continues a steady encroachment on the right to receive an abortion in the state of Ohio. As the year begins, the necessity of reproductive justice advocacy to be put on Ohio’s list of resolutions is clear.

Although conservative supporters of this idea to ban abortion at 20-weeks claim that fetuses can feel pain at that point during gestation, it has not been scientifically proven to be true. Thirteen other states have used this incorrect information to pass similar bans on abortion. For Ohio Right to Life advocates and other conservative people, the 20-week ban has become their legislative top priority. Although many of right-wing Ohio’s intense pushback and abortions restrictions have been shut down in the past, this ban could seriously hurt access to care which is already scarce in the state. There are currently only eight functioning clinics left in the state.

This care is needed! Recently ThinkProgress journalist, Tara Culp-Ressler, described the many reasons why an abortion at 20-weeks would be necessary for some women by telling first-person stories. Culp-Ressler reports on families that could have potentially had children that would have suffered greatly during birth, due to genetic complications.

Advocates of healthcare for everyone need to keep fighting to maintain safe, affordable and accessible care. Abortion is already fairly difficult to procure to obtain in Ohio, which means with all the hoops they have to jump through, many more people end up needing a later abortion. If this proposal to end abortions after 20-weeks were to pass, it could put people’s constitutional rights in jeopardy.

Right now, if you live in Ohio or elsewhere in the country and would like to advocate for equal reproductive care, you should call your local representative and let them know how you feel. It can be as simple as just saying that you believe that equal healthcare should be a right and that 20-week bans on abortion don’t support the law. Find out more about reproductive justice advocacy through reading this beautiful zine by Rosebud, or contacting URGE about how you can get involved!

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