URGE Response to Arraignment of Local Columbus Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Advocates Targeted with Criminal Charges
March 8, 2021
(Columbus, OH) — Statement by Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity on the arraignment of several Columbus-based advocates targeted with criminal charges for peacefully protesting at an anti-abortion event in a local church with a history of targeting abortion clinic patients:
“This church, like many across the country, has been co-opted and politicized by individuals who want abortion to be illegal, people who need abortions to be shamed, and people who support abortion to be intimidated into silence. These extremists have used the pulpit to aggressively push stigmatizing misinformation about abortion and other reproductive health care, while heaping shame upon those who have made the decision to end their pregnancy Some of the people who participated in the protest have been targets of these vile, personal anti-abortion attacks.
“The leaders of this church have supported politicians at the Ohio Statehouse in passing unpopular and dangerous bills that make abortion inaccessible. Since 2011, anti-abortion politicians have passed twenty-three restrictions on abortion care in Ohio. These restrictions have nothing to do with improving health—and everything to do with stripping Ohioans of their rights and access to care. These barriers to health care access disproportionately affect Black women, people of color, queer and trans folks, and low-income people.
“Each of us should be able to make our own decisions about whether and when to become a parent without shame or political interference. Bans on abortion coverage, lack of sex ed, state violence, discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people, and stigma against our bodies, genders, sex, and decisions all make it harder for young people and others in Ohio to live free and with dignity. It’s time to stop blaming and shaming pregnant people and focus accountability where it belongs: on the failed institutions and policymakers who refuse to meet the needs of our communities.”
URGE envisions a liberated world where we can live with justice, love freely, express our gender and sexuality, and define and create families of our choosing. To achieve our vision of liberation, URGE builds power and sustains a young people’s movement for reproductive justice by centering the leadership of young people of color who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and people of low-income. As a state-driven national organization, URGE organizes our communities, provides a political home for young people, advocates for meaningful policy change, and shifts culture, working in states where the challenges and opportunities are greatest.