We Officially Gutted Lebanon, Ohio's, Anti-Abortion Ordinance—Here's How
Read the full release here
Today—alongside our friends at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) & represented by ACLU of OHio and Democracy Forward—we've defeated the City of Lebanon, Ohio’s, attempt to prohibit “aiding” and “abetting” people seeking to access legal abortion services.
What’s that mean, exactly? To put it simply, the City agreed not to criminalize “aiding & abetting” patients, volunteers and social workers, & anyone for simply possessing medication abortion in city limits. Here's a breakdown of the changes to the City's ordinance:
This case, National Association of Social Workers v. City of Lebanon, Ohio, was the first challenge to an abortion ban filed after the leak of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that would overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Though much has changed since the City passed the ordinance in May 2021, the impacts this ordinance threatened remain unchanged. All attacks on our reproductive rights are rooted in extremist attempts to control the fabric of everyday folks' lives. Whether an attack comes from the Supreme Court or Lebanon City Council, our communities deserve so much better. Unequivocally, our right to access & provide necessary healthcare should not be subject to the whims of political actors.
Although the ban remains on the City’s books, it’s little more than a symbol of anti-abortion extremism. “Lebanon's fruitless ordinance wasn't the first—nor will it be the last—attack on our bodily autonomy,” said Maggie Scotece, Interim Executive Director of the Abortion Fund of Ohio. “This litigation exposes local ordinance bans as dangerous acts of political theater, and our lawsuit demanded accountability for the logistical and legal nightmare Lebanon's City Council created. This win is so unique in the context of our post-Dobbs legal landscape, establishing a strong, united front against these heinous attacks. We're incredibly grateful for the dedicated work of our legal team, our co-plaintiffs, and our community for supporting us as we fight for abortion access for all Ohioans.”
As we push forward in a Post-Dobbs Ohio, we're proud to continue fighting for abortion access on all fronts.
Until next time,
Abortion Fund of Ohio
Giving Tuesday, Mutual Aid, and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
This #GivingTuesday, choose to fund abortion, community organizing, and other local mutual aid efforts.
Full transparency: Non-profits are part of—and inherently benefit from—the system that oppresses their clients. As a 501(c)3, AFO is inherently part of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC). We take explicit responsibility for & measures to reduce harm as part of this system.
Like many abortion funds, we started as a mutual aid collective—a group of community members helping one another receive the healthcare they needed. As that project expanded, the org incorporated to gain some protection against the state’s oppression. Though many abortion funds are 501(c)3 organizations today, we operate out of deep community-driven, mutual aid lens.
Here are 5 ways we divest from philanthropy & charity models in favor of mutual aid:
1. 100% of grassroots fundraising funds community member’s financial and practical support needs: We cover the cost of staff salaries & other administrative costs through private foundation grants. This allows us to function more like unincorporated mutual aid orgs.
2. Contributions are made in solidarity: Over 90% of AFO’s donations are at or under $50. Our clients, funders, staff, and board pool our collective resources to meet each others’ needs. We reject reliance on wealthy saviors. We know that we keep us safe: not the rich & not the state.
3. Client eligibility isn’t determined by income, ‘merit’, immigration status, or other means of separating “deserving” & “undeserving” folks: AFO respects clients’ privacy & acknowledges their wholeness as humans. A person’s need isn’t tied to their perceived piety, ‘goodness’, or other subjective metric we impose. A charity model can’t account for the barriers—visible or invisible—that clients face, which often leads to substantial gaps in aid.
4. Build decision-making & power structures rooted in consensus rather than hierarchy: AFO’s Board uses a consensus model for decision-making, and AFO’s staff makes decisions in a round-table model reject white supremacist & capitalist models of superiority.
5. Focus on Cross-organizational & Cross-Movement Solidarity: Though AFO’s work is rooted in reproductive justice, there cannot be true reproductive justice without the work of racial justice, disability justice, environmental justice, trans & queer justice, etc. Though we believe in our work as an organization, we also believe the work of our comrades in repro & beyond.
Abortion funds are—at their core—centers for mutual aid & community care. We acknowledge that as a non-profit, we are unwilling perpetrators of the systems harming our communities. AND, we are using this structure to meet folks’ most critical needs, reducing the harm caused by this system.
If you give today, make it towards mutual aid. Ohio has several abortion funds:
- Abortion Fund of Ohio (statewide): Monthly, One-Time, Merch
- Preterm (Cleveland/NEO): Monthly & One-Time
- Aggie Fund (Toledo/NWO) Monthly & One-Time, Merch
Additional Mutual Aid & Harm-Reduction Efforts
- Northern Ohio
- Southern Ohio
- Central Ohio
- Franklin County Collective Aid (FB Group)
- Central Ohio Sex Worker Outreach (COSWO)
- FIRST Collective
- Black, Queer, & Intersectional Collective (BQIC)
- Heer to Serve
- Justice Unity & Social Transformation (JUST)
- Food Not Bombs (FNB) Columbus
- Food Not Bombs (FNB) Franklin County
- Mutual Aid Street Solidarity (MASS)
Meet Kimberley Mason—Co-President of AFO’s Board of Directors!
Today, Abortion Fund of Ohio is thrilled to introduce you to our new Co-President, Kimberley Mason (she/her)!
To say this year has been taxing on Repro workers is a massive understatement. Frankly, the access crisis is an ever-compounding trauma; as storytellers, providers, & advocates, our team is grieving while we work to make abortion accessible in our communities. At the same time, we have also found the most compassionate moments of community care. Today, we’re delighted to share one of those moments with you.
Kim is joining Jordyn as Co-President on our Board of Directors to ensure our work stays sustainable. Jordyn has worked miracles since accepting this role, leading with the humility & fierceness Ohio desperately needed. As a storyteller, educator, our Board President, and Ohio Women’s Alliance Deputy Director, Jordyn has devoted her waking hours to Reproductive Justice.
“The Reproductive Justice movement is resilient—Regardless of what comes next, we’ll be ready,” Kim said, on accepting the position. “Jordyn brings so much to this role, and I hope my passion & energy can match her enthusiasm & heart. Whether with our clients, staff, or fellow Board Members, I want to ensure we have the resources our communities need to flourish.”Read more
Ohio Judge Blocks 6-Week Abortion Ban: Here's What's Next
Yesterday afternoon, a Hamilton County judge blocked Ohio’s 6-week abortion ban, returning abortion legality through 21 weeks from last menstrual period (LMP) across the state.
According to a joint release from several of Ohio’s clinics & the ACLU of Ohio, the plaintiffs have requested the block on the ban be extended through the duration of the case. It’s unlikely that this request is granted or denied prior to the final days of the 14-day block. You can read the full release & find the latest updates from our friends at the ACLU of Ohio.
Is abortion legal in Ohio?
Since the law is currently blocked from being enforced, abortion clinics can now provide abortions through 21 weeks & 6 days from a person’s last menstrual period. This particular number comes from Ohio law previously enacted before the passage of the 6-week ban.
This is a HUGE win, even if only temporary! Under the 6-week ban, approximately 90% of abortions were blocked in the state. In comparison, about ~1% of abortions occur at or after 21 weeks in the US. While a ban at ANY limit is despicable, this block will provide significant relief to Ohioans needing abortion care.
Are Ohio’s abortion clinics open?
Ohio’s abortion clinics—particularly our independent abortion clinics—have struggled to keep their doors open among a barrage of barriers and bans these past several years.
Women’s Medical Center - Dayton was set to close after 9.15, but now will reopen this coming week to serve patients. For many clinics, blocked bans could mean keeping operations running & retaining staff while providing essential services to their community.
Clinic scheduling, availability, and restrictions may vary, so be sure to check with your local clinic on how long they can provide care & when they’ll begin scheduling patients.
Will this impact abortion access in the midwest?
Though Ohio’s ban has been temporarily stalled, our neighbors in Indiana & West Virginia both have near-total abortion bans taking effect this week. With Kentucky still operating under a total ban, Ohio will likely see a surge of folks traveling from out of state to receive care during this temporary block.
Abortion Fund of Ohio can support both Ohioans & folks traveling to Ohio with abortion access. We have dedicate patient navigation staff, volunteers, and financial support to help put abortion in reach.
Can I get an abortion in Ohio?
Patients seeking abortion can now remain in state if there procedure would fall before 21 weeks & 6 days gestation. This is determined by the patient’s last menstrual period (LMP). Abortion clinics will likely be EXTREMELY BUSY over the next two weeks, so it’s crucial that abortion seekers schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Clinics ask that if you need to cancel your appointment — for example, if you found an earlier appointment or one closer to home — you give the clinic as much notice as possible so they can provide that slot to another patient. Providers are doing their best to serve as many folks as possible during this time, so please be kind & understanding to staff!
If there are additional barriers to accessing care — such as childcare, transportation, accessibility, or other practical care & costs — you can reach out both through your clinic or through Abortion Fund of Ohio for assistance. You can begin AFO’s intake process by going online to our help page or calling our warmline at 614-300-7811. As a note, this line is a return system only, meaning you will need to leave a voicemail to receive a call back!
How can I support abortion access in Ohio?
Though abortion legality has been temporarily expanded, this doesn’t necesarrily equate to access. Many folks who need abortion will not have access to it, whether it’s an inability to take off work, pay for the procedure & associated costs, or get necessary transportation to their appointments.
Though it’s not the most exciting answer, the most influential thing you can do in this moment is donate to & or fundraise for abortion funds.
You can contribute to Abortion Fund of Ohio either as a one-time gift or as a recurring donation. If you already have a recurring donation set up with AFO & you need to change payment info, update amount, or cancel it, we now have a self-service supporter portal!
You can learn about fundraising for AFO on our website here.
Abortion Fund of Ohio
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;
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.
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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.