May 8, 2015 — About 100 abortion-rights supporters on Wednesday rallied in front of the Ohio Statehouse to speak out against antiabortion-rights measures under consideration in the state Legislature, the Youngstown Vindicator reports.
Ohio lawmakers this session are considering several abortion restrictions. One bill (HB 69), which has passed in the state House, would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Another measure (HB 135) would ban abortion if the woman bases her decision solely on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome (Kovac, Youngstown Vindicator, 5/7).
In addition, the Ohio House-approved version of the state budget (HB 64) would reduce government services for pregnant women and direct more funding toward crisis pregnancy centers. In a previous budget cycle, state House lawmakers inserted antiabortion-rights provisions into the budget (HB 59) at the last minute, according to the Toledo Blade (Provance, Toledo Blade, 5/7).
According to the Vindicator, the rally was organized by the National Council of Jewish Women and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio. The rally featured several hundred pairs of shoes arranged on the Statehouse steps to underscore the protesters' theme, "Don't Step on Our Rights."
Referencing the theme, state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D) said, "Many of the people and the opponents have never walked in our shoes. And until they do, they can't understand what women face today."
She added, "Women's bodies are under attack in Ohio ... Reproductive freedom is in jeopardy in the United States, and we're not going to stand for it any longer" (Youngstown Vindicator, 5/7).
Meanwhile, Anita Rios, a Green Party gubernatorial candidate in 2014, shared her experience of traveling to another state to obtain an abortion in 1972, one year prior to the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade. She said, "Unfortunately, in Toledo, Ohio, it looks like we may be very close to getting back there once again," adding, "There's one abortion clinic left in Toledo now" (Toledo Blade, 5/7).