We Officially Gutted Lebanon, Ohio's, Anti-Abortion Ordinance—Here's How

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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

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Giving Tuesday, Mutual Aid, and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

This #GivingTuesday, choose to fund abortion, community organizing, and other local mutual aid efforts.

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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.

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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: 

 

Additional Mutual Aid & Harm-Reduction Efforts

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Meet Kim—Co-President of AFO’s Board of Directors!

Dark pink and black gritty gradient overlayed with a photo of Kimberley Mason, a white woman with bright red lipstick, shoulder-length, wavy, brown & purple hair. She is standing confidently with her shoulders back and arms relaxed at her side. She is wearing a grey tee reading, "SEX ED IS POWER" with a fitted black skirt. Kim is tilting her head slightly toward the camera with a bold & playful smirk on her face. A quote beside her reads, "The Reproductive Justice movement is resilient; Regardless of what comes next, we'll be ready." Additional text reads, "Kimberley Mason, she/her/hers, Board Co-President, Abortion Fund of Ohio. Photography courtesy of Casey Hammons (@caseylinn_hammons)!"

Today, Abortion Fund of Ohio is thrilled to introduce you to our new Co-President, Kimberley (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.”

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