COLUMBUS– The Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus (ODWLC) today issued a statement after the injunction against Senate Bill 23 (133rd General Assembly) was dissolved. This bill, signed into law by Gov. DeWine in 2019, will now prohibit Ohioans from obtaining an abortion after six weeks. This announcement followed the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, which established the right to access safe and legal abortion care in the United States for nearly 50 years.
“We are outraged on behalf of all Ohioans who will be affected by these disastrous court decisions to criminalize abortion. Six weeks is often too early to know if one is pregnant, so this ban removes a woman’s autonomy and the ability to make any choice,” said Rep. Mary Lightbody, chair of the ODWLC. “Women will be denied the medical care that they deserve, which can and will lead to severe complications and even death. It is deeply upsetting to see Ohio and the United States go back 50 years within the blink of an eye. We are committed to restoring these rights.”
SB 23 makes no exceptions for rape or incest, and provides limited exceptions for the life and health of the mother. A last-minute markup eliminated protections for women from forced vaginal ultrasounds, and removed language that held the health of women as a legitimate interest of the state.
Over 60% of Ohioans agree with the Roe v. Wade decision to allow access to abortion. Despite this, Ohio Republicans continue to prioritize legislation to ban abortion. House Bill 598 and Senate Bill 123 are current pieces of legislation that would completely ban abortion in Ohio without any exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the health of the mother.
Meanwhile, Senator Nikki Antonio (D-Lakewood) and former Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) introduced Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 7 and Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) have introduced House Joint Resolution (HJR) 5, two companion resolutions that will create a constitutional amendment that would ensure all people have the freedom to make decisions about their bodies and healthcare. This includes the ability to obtain surgical and medical abortion services. Additionally, the amendment would codify the right to access and use contraceptive devices and medications. SJR 7 and HJR 5 both await future hearings.
The mission of the Ohio Democratic Women's Legislative Caucus is to develop and pass policies and legislation that improve the lives of Ohio women and their families; to identify and support emerging women leaders by serving as mentors; and to educate and empower women and increase women's involvement in public life and in the Ohio General Assembly.