Ohio reproductive rights activists attempted to fight a budget decision that includes late additions that would defund Planned Parenthood centers, shut down abortion clinics, and redirect state funding to right-wing “crisis pregnancy centers” (read: pro-life manipulation stations), ThinkProgress.org reported. The budget, which was passed shortly before 5 p.m. despite protests from onlookers, a large social media contingent, and multiple Democratic representatives, goes so far as to redefine pregnancy as beginning as fertilization, defining a fetus as “human offspring developing during pregnancy from the moment of conception”––a move that could have disastrous effects for emergency contraception.
Peggy Clancy, a Secular Woman member, went to Columbus to take a stand for women’s reproductive freedom; she and many pro-choice women brought a strong showing to the House and Senate but were herded out and confined to the Senate gallery after the bill was passed. “We stood up and several yelled ‘shame on you!’ says Clancy. “That got us all told to leave immediately.
“This is important to me because I was a student nurse when Roe v. Wade was decided,” said Clancy in an interview. “I remember the older nurses talking about the septic back-alley abortion victims they couldn't save. I knew I was so lucky to be coming of age at a time when birth control and abortion could be safe easy to get and respectable. I hate to see young women today living at a more primitive time without what was available then.”
“Abortions must be safe, legal and accessible,” says Kim Rippere, president of Secular Woman.
“Making them inaccessible or illegal only creates an environment in which women are again forced into back-alley abortions. More women’s lives will be at risk with this bill and similar bills passing throughout the country. Fundamentalists think that striping women of their human rights is acceptable and desired; fundamentally, they have no regard for women and their bodily autonomy, their choices, their lives, and their families.”
Clancy encourages women to continue calling Ohio Gov. John Kasich to express their support of access to birth control and abortion without unnecessary restrictions at 614-466-3555––and keep these events in mind during November elections.