WHO/O Condemns Reinstatement of Ohio’s 6-Week Abortion Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—JUNE 24, 2022

Sam Woodring (she/her); Women Have Options Ohio;

c: 513-285-8099

[email protected]

 

Ohio’s Statewide Abortion Fund Condemns Reinstatement of Ohio’s 6-Week Abortion Ban 

Women Have Options Tells Ohioans: Abortion After Six Weeks is Banned, But We Are Still Here 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 24, 2022)—Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) completely overturned the precedent protecting the legal right to abortion under both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health requested that a stay be lifted on an injunction currently preventing Ohio’s 2019 6-week abortion ban from taking effect. Moments ago, a judge granted this request, meaning that abortion following the detection of fetal heart tones is banned. 

The 6-week abortion ban—often misleadingly termed the “Heartbeat Bill”—was passed as Senate Bill 23 (SB 23), which outlaws abortion as early as five or six weeks of gestation. At that point, most individuals don’t know they’re pregnant—it would be mere days following a missed period. The vast majority of abortion seekers logistically could not schedule an appointment within this window, effectively restricting in-state abortion access to almost nothing. 

The ban—after being enacted in April 2019—was swiftly challenged by our partners at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU of Ohio) who brought suit against the state on behalf of Pre-Term Cleveland, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio (PPGO), Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio (PPSWO) and the Women's Med Center of Dayton (WMCD). Since July 2019, the ban was stayed under an injunction, which has granted crucial abortion access to patients in Ohio.

As Ohioans, we’re enraged that our so-called leadership is working overtime to restrict our right bodily autonomy. Our state has been plagued by countless horrors, yet the first time they’ve taken immediate action is to eliminate safe, in-state access to crucial healthcare. Countless studies tell us that abortion bans only work to harm the health of pregnant folks, their families, and our communities at large. As a health department—one who is supposedly committed to the health and wellbeing of all Ohioans—ODH should truly be ashamed of their actions. 

“Abortion funds are still working & legal in the state, & we’ll continue helping Ohioans access care. Now more than ever, our abortion fund and independent clinics will need the support of our entire state, ensuring that every single Ohioan can access the care they need. Donate to your local abortion fund, sign up to volunteer, and make your story known. We will not be going anywhere. Abortion—at its core—is love and community care.” says WHO/O Interim Executive Director Maggie Scotece.

We have absolutely no intention of halting our work. When announcing news of the ban to attendees at ComFest, WHO/O Board Chair, Jordyn Close noted that “You’ll see us in the streets and in the courts.”

Right now, our work as an abortion fund is still legal and unfettered. We are asking Ohioans to support local funds like ourselves, the Cleveland-based fund & clinic Pre-Term, and the Toledo-based Aggie Reynolds Fund. We will fight tooth and nail to ensure ALL Ohioans can access abortion, whether that be in state or elsewhere. 

We urge Ohioans to donate to their local abortion fund. If you need help accessing abortion, we are here. Ohioans can reach out via website or our warmline at (614) 300-7811.

 

# # #

 

Women Have Options Ohio (WHO/O) is a 501(c)3 organization that provides financial assistance and practical support to help patients afford contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion services. Since 1992, WHO has helped thousands pay for their reproductive choices. If you need help accessing abortion care, please contact us here. If you would like to help someone access abortion care, you can contribute monthly or as a one-time gift.

Share

Ohio’s Statewide Abortion Fund Denounces SCOTUS’s Dismantlement of Roe v. Wade

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—JUNE 24, 2022

Sam Woodring (she/her); Women Have Options Ohio;

c: 513-285-8099

[email protected]

 

Ohio’s Statewide Abortion Fund Denounces SCOTUS’s Dismantlement of Roe v. Wade

Women Have Options Ohio (WHO/O) Reminds Ohioans: Abortion is Still Legal in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 24, 2022)—This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released its final opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, completely dismantling the precedent that protected the legal right to abortion under both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

This day and decision will be cauterized in the hearts of advocates and the general public alike—the news of this momentous step backwards comes with so much rage, but also intense grief. Millions across the country are watching as their rights to their own body shrink, a decision that inevitably stigmatizes the millions who have had abortions and the millions more who will need them. 

Despite the fall of Roe this morning, abortion is still legal in Ohio. Ohio’s legislature is working to change that reality with HB 598, but as of today, June 15, 2022, abortion is still legal, and care is still available in-state. WHO/O reminds folks that clinics are open, medication abortion (with use of FDA-approved pills, Mifepristone & Misoprostol) remains legal, safe, and effective, and WHO/O is here to support patients with any financial or practical supports that they may need. If you currently have an appointment with a care provider, assume that this appointment is still happening unless your provider tells you otherwise. Canceling your appointment can delay critical care, increasing your wait time and cost of treatment. 

Chair of WHO/O’s Board of Directors & abortion storyteller, Jordyn Close says, “In the coming days and weeks, we’ll hear from politicians, organizations, and others who claim our system of governance is broken. The stark reality is that it’s functioning exactly as intended. Abled-bodied, wealthy, white, cis-gendered women will have no issue crossing state lines to access care if needed. Historically oppressed folks will bear the brunt of this decision. Forced pregnancies will inevitably lead to increased maternal mortality rates, poverty, and limit folks’ choice of if, when, and how to have children. This decision is in direct contradiction to our human rights and the mission of Reproductive Justice as defined by Black-led feminist organization, Sister Song.”

Interim Executive Director, Maggie Scotece, notes I am enraged with the actions of not only SCOTUS, but our government at-large. All abortion bans are part of the intertwined systems of oppression that deny Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color access to their rights and are rooted in anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and other forms of discrimination. Right now, we’re calling on Ohioans to spread the message that abortions is still legal in Ohio. WHO/O, alongside local and national organizers and activists will continue fighting towards liberation. Grassroots fundraising, community support, and public action will be crucial, not just for abortion funds like WHO/O but also for clinics and the patients they serve. To Ohioans feeling every color of outrage and grief and fear—know that you are not alone, and our communities aren’t going anywhere, now or ever.”

WHO/O is a founding member of a network of abortion funds across the country that have prepared for this constitutional rollback for years. When abortion becomes illegal in Ohio, WHO/O will field massive increases in funding requests from patients for whom abortion will no longer be financially or logistically accessible. 

In Ohio, the state legislature’s newest attack on our bodily autonomy comes in the form of House Bill 598, which would ban abortion in all cases, and it would ensure that performing an abortion becomes a first-degree felony. The bill, if enacted, would also prohibit the manufacturing and sale of medications and devices intended for use in abortions, prohibit promoting abortion, and criminalize individuals who safely self-manage their abortions. Senate President, Matt Huffman, stated intent to pass HB 598 through the Senate after the SCOTUS decision is handed down. Huffman is also a volunteer at his mother’s Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC), which are state-funded, false clinics that deceive, stigmatize, and delay care for pregnant people in attempts to prevent abortions. 

HB 598 is just one of many bills attacking Ohioans’ fundamental rights. WHO/O stands in solidarity with queer and transgender Ohioans & whose rights were grounded in our right to abortion that was upheld for over 50 years in Roe v. Wade. Bills progressing through the General Assembly like HB 454—a ban against gender-affirming care—and HB 616—the infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ and anti-Critical Race Theory bill—are now even graver threats. WHO/O stands united with our partner organizations as they organize against blatantly transphobic, racist, and homophobic legislation and the cultural attitudes that created them. 

WHO/O anticipates requests for service to double this summer, especially given that one-way travel distances could increase tenfold depending on bans enacted in our neighboring states. This SCOTUS decision will harm thousands of Ohioans who will be blocked from receiving care as a direct result, but its impacts will also be felt within communities that will be forever changed by this lack of care. There are not words strong enough to represent our collective pain, anger, and deeply rooted indignation. Contribute to abortion funds. Speak out against oppressive legislation. Organize for better. Take time today to show yourself, your neighbors, and your community some love.  

###

Read more
Share

BREAKING—WHO/O AND NASW OHIO FILE FEDERAL SUIT AGAINST LEBANON'S ANTI-ABORTION ORDINANCE

Graphic reading, "BREAKING: National Association of Social Workers and Women Have Options Ohio File Federal Lawsuit Challenging Lebanon's Anti-Abortion Ordinance"

BREAKING—WHO/O AND NASW OHIO FILE FEDERAL SUIT AGAINST LEBANON'S ANTI-ABORTION ORDINANCE

Represented by the ACLU of Ohio and Democracy Forward, we have joined the National Association of Social Workers - Ohio in filing federal suit against Lebanon's anti-abortion ordinance. Adopted nearly one year ago, the ordinance is one of nearly 40 local bans across the country, seeking to criminalize and ban abortion within city limits. Let's be clear: this ban is a grievous constitutional violation that is all-encompassing AND vague, leaving citizens enraged and baffled.

The ordinance is the only local ban currently enacted in Ohio, and while no clinics reside in city limits, the ban prohibits anyone from obtaining, facilitating, or promoting abortion even outside city limits. The vague language & scope of these prohibitions means that individuals do not have fair notice or expectation of what may be considered misconduct under this ordinance. 

Enough is enough. We will not stand by idly as governments trample the rights of the citizens they supposedly serve. WHO/O's Board Chair, Jordyn Close, states, "The work we do to help people access abortion in Ohio and the Midwest helps our communities thrive. As the only statewide abortion fund, we will not be intimidated, and we are not going anywhere. We will continue to stand up to our oppressors who have launched this attack on our bodily autonomy. These attacks against abortion care are meant to stigmatize and restrict access and prevent us from supporting Ohioans. We will not be harassed or intimidated out of serving Ohio, in the courts or anywhere else. We will protect our staff, our volunteers and our donors. We are proud to fight back, and will always stand up for Reproductive Justice." 

WHO/O will continue providing updates on this lawsuit as they are available. Regardless of Roe, Lebanon's ordinance is a clear violation of established constitutional rights of free speech and due process. The people of Ohio cannot and will not be subject to the whims of extremists that do not represent our state's or country's support for abortion access. 

Below is the ACLU of Ohio & Democracy Forward's full release. Please direct any questions regarding the suit's specifics to the contacts listed on the release. 

Read more
Share

Ohio’s Statewide Abortion Fund Reacts to SCOTUS Intent to Overturn Roe v. Wade

To read this statement via Word document, click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Sam Woodring (she/her); Women Have Options Ohio; [email protected]

Ohio’s Statewide Abortion Fund Reacts to SCOTUS Intent to Overturn Roe v. Wade: Women Have Options Ohio (WHO/O) Condemns SCOTUS Draft, Calls Ohioans to Action

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 3, 2022)—Late yesterday evening, a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) shows the Court’s intent to completely overturn protections for abortion access outlined in Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

Justice Samuel Alito writes for the majority that, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” The February draft continues, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.” WHO/O is exceptionally dismayed with the Court’s regressive stance, holding that this decision will ultimately lead to the oppression of countless Ohioans. WHO/O stands in solidarity with the organizers and activists who intend to rally at the Supreme Court of Ohio tonight, May 3, at 5:00 pm. 

Chair of WHO/O’s Board of Directors & abortion storyteller, Jordyn Close, comes out against  the decision, “Their [SCOTUS’] decision is blatantly a product of extremist, anti-choice rhetoric that plagues conversations about reproductive freedom. Every abortion ban, no matter the level of restriction, are tools of oppression. All abortion bans are racist, classist and dangerous. The oppression of our bodies, especially of Black and brown Ohioans is tactical, and our liberation will never be handed down in the form of a Court opinion. WHO/O will continue organizing, funding, and rallying around the framework of true Reproductive Justice, created & sustained by Black womxn.”

Read more
Share

WHO/O Leadership Transition

Dear WHO/O Community & Supporters,

In the last few years you have seen Women Have Options - Ohio adapt to the changing landscape of abortion access and even expand our capacity to provide funding, all while clarifying our values and coming into deeper alignment with racial and reproductive justice. As an organization, we believe firmly that we must be flexible and open to growth in order to meet the needs of our community and our staff. We also believe that you, our community and donors, deserve transparency during our transition moments so that you can trust in our values and our services, especially in turbulent times.

It is with a dedication to you all, then, that we want to share about the work we have been doing to address internal harm.

The WHO/O board was made aware of harm done by executive level staff within the organization and the larger Ohio reproductive access coalition community. Among other issues we became aware of a deep disconnect between our stated values and the environment in which our staff were expected to work, as well as our collective failure to address racialized harm and support our practical support staff. As board members, we are all in our individual processes of pain, anger, shock, and dismay. We are also all firmly committed to implementing a just and transformative process to move WHO/O and the Ohio repro community forward towards authentic anti-racist values based in the tenets of Reproductive Justice.

We know whole communities are responsible for creating a culture of permissible harm, and so as a board we take accountability for our collective missteps that allowed this situation to develop internally and are committed to working toward a better organization.

Accountability for us looks like working with a conflict transformation mediator, undergoing radical values realignment and strategic planning, participating in anti-racism training for our white staff and board members, and revising our organizational policies to create both firmer protections for workers as well as proactive anti-oppressive cultural expectations. We are excited and optimistic that these changes will propel us forward, and sustain us in our mission of abortion access for all.

We are also delighted to share that our former board member, Maggie Scotece, has accepted the role of Interim Executive Director of WHO/O. Maggie has been vital in advocating for safety policies and negotiating the business of transition throughout this time. She, along with our newly appointed Board Chair Jordyn Close, will be prioritizing culture change work, including a review of employment equity models, and a proposal to change WHO/O’s name - after all, we know that it’s not just women who have abortions. Our goal after the interim period is for Maggie to step down into a permanent role on WHO/O’s staff, and to offer the Executive Director role to the most qualified candidate, with a focus on attracting dynamic BIPOC candidates and identifying a leader with lived experience who can shepherd all of us forward in our values.

In the meantime, We Are Still Funding Abortions! In December and January alone, our phenomenal staff have distributed  $57,407 in funding to clinics and patients! And we are setting our sights on expansion: more staff, more services, and more funding.

It is clear we have a mountain of work ahead of us to transition, transform, and align our organization with our desired values. And yet, we are no strangers to breaking barriers in fighting for equity, and remaining resilient in protecting each other's humanity. We have undergone many radical shifts throughout our history - from our first patient grant in 1992, to our first staff position in 2016, to remaining the only statewide abortion fund in Ohio. This transition is just another step in upholding our commitment to justice for all of the people we serve.

It takes strength to remain rooted in your values. We at WHO/O - from the staff, executive board, and leadership - remain stronger than ever in fulfilling the organization's mission to provide economic and reproductive freedom, and for abortion to be accessible to all people.

Sincerely,

 

Women Have Options - Ohio Executive Board Members & Staff

Rhiannon Carnes 

Jordyn Close, Chair

Julia D'Agostino

Cierra Dammons

Alana Garrett-Ferguson

Mason Hickman

Kimberley Mason

Samantha Sizemore

Danielle Smith

Mytheli Sreenivas

Sri Thakkilapati

 

Maggie Scotece, Interim ED

Michelle D., Patient Navigation & Practical Support 

Lexi D., Patient Navigation & Practical Support 

Share