COLUMBUS- State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today issued the following statement on House Bill (HB) 732, the Protect Child Victims Act, which would give child sexual assault and abuse victims the ability to apply for an emergency award for any healthcare treatment, including abortion care.
“The Protect Child Victims Act empowers children and their caregivers after a traumatic sexual assault. These funds exist to care for survivors of child sexual abuse, not to advance extremist political agendas. Democrats are united on the side of victims, but time after time, we find ourselves standing alone,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “We’ve fought for victims of rape and incest. We’ve begged our colleagues to make an exception for them in their heartless abortion ban. Now they won’t sign on to a bill that gives child sexual assault victims emergency resources for the care they need. It’s cruel how these radical Republicans keep ignoring their suffering.”
Not a single Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives signed on to the Protect Child Victims Act, which gives monetary awards from the Crime Victims Compensation fund. Crime Victims’ Compensation awards would be paid by criminal fines, not by Ohio’s taxpayers, and made at the discretion of the Ohio Attorney General’s office, who recently stated they intend to appeal a Cincinnati judge’s order pausing Ohio’s six-week abortion ban. The ban has already forced a 10-year old Ohio girl, who became pregnant as a result of being raped, to leave the state to receive an abortion.
During testimony on the six-week abortion ban, opponents noted that forcing an incest victim to carry and potentially raise their family member abuser’s child would force them into decades of additional abuse.
“Child sexual assault victims are dealing with more than just physical symptoms after their trauma. When we support legislation like the Protect Child Victims Act, we help them with their feelings of fear and confusion. We get them on the road to recovery and help them become survivors. Power and political agendas shouldn’t be more important than that,” said Rep. Galonski. “I’m disappointed in my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, but thankful to be joined by my fellow Democrats in fighting for the futures of these children. They deserve care and compassion from Ohio’s leaders, not more headlines about the hurdles they faced after a tragedy.”