Em-URGE-ing Voices

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Ohio Won’t Go Back

Posted by

October 23, 2015

image via flickr by openDemocracy

image via flickr by openDemocracy

It just got real for the state of Ohio.

In what is quickly becoming a depressing pattern, the Ohio Senate quickly passed legislation to block state funding for Planned Parenthood’s health and education programs, which means all of that funding will instead be given to other health centers who do not perform abortions, have information on available abortion clinic options or do any sort of family planning.

Senate Bill 214 passed the Senate voted 23-10 to defund PP.

SB 214 explicitly states that state and federal funds cannot be used for “non-theraputic abortions, defined as “an abortion that is performed or induced when the life of the mother would not be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or when the pregnancy of the mother was not the result of rape or incest reported to a law enforcement agency.”

That folks, is exactly the problem.

How can a white, cisgendered, male-identifying person who clearly doesn’t understand anything about the autonomy of a person who needs an abortion make such a life threatening decision for people in Ohio?

He can’t.

If you know about reproductive care, you would understand that there are lots of gray areas in SB 14. First of all, in most cases of rape and incest, the incident isn’t reported to law enforcement, and the rate of secrecy for rape and incest is higher for people of color, trans* and queer people. In an urban city where crime is high, resources are low and it can be dangerous to live out your preferred sexual/gender identity, these things are held in with a few silent tears and a trip to the clinic, so that piece in the bill is in my opinion invalid.

Secondly, no one can define how and if the mothers’ life would be in danger. The person wanting to have the abortion’s life doesn’t have to be endangered just medically, thank you very much. The person can be endangered in ways such as violence, mental health, not having enough money or resources, subject to being kicked out of their home, intimate partner violence and so on. So ‘endangered’ is a chameleon of a word in this case.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio offers cancer screenings, STD testing, and various other well-person exams at its ‘facilities. Out of the 27 PP clinics we have in Ohio, only three of them perform abortions. Do you see the picture clearer?

According to the Columbus Dispatch, not only was the hearing rushed, the 50 opponents of the bill were given a timer of only two minutes to speak, and not all of them did.

CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Stephanie Knight was stunned, reportedly saying, “This is not democracy.”

The bill will now move to the Ohio House of Representatives and then, probably with little delay, to Governor John Kasich’s desk.

This is a reproductive justice issue that is not only controlling sexual agency, but it’s also a mean mechanism of denying us the right to access safe, affordable healthcare. What can you do?

Fight back. Be a constituent. Call your local senators and tell them why we need Planned Parenthood. Unite with other folks, protest, take to social media.

Back alley and dangerous abortions? We’ll never go back.

We damn sure won’t be silenced or eradicated.

Reproductive rights are human rights, period. If you don’t understand that, then you’re part of the problem.


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