Stay engaged, involved, and up-to-date: 01/01/2018 Weekly Review

Stay engaged, involved, and up-to-date: In the weekly reviews from the Women’s Public Policy Network, we look back on last week’s highlights from the WPPN, share updates on bills affecting women that are moving at the Statehouse, showcase weekly news clips, and provide calls to action on bills pending in the Legislature. Sign up for our emails to receive these updates in your inbox every week!


Public health policy expert and outspoken healthcare advocate, Allison Russo, shares her own powerful story to express the real-life impacts that legislation can have on women. Her guest blog post discusses why Ohio lawmakers should stop the bans and, instead, prioritize issues that help women and families.

“After consulting with my OB/GYN, who sweetly shed a tear with me during that initial visit, I was immediately referred to a perinatal genetics clinic to better understand my prenatal screening options. In the six years since my prior pregnancy, those tests were now vast and advanced, and I wanted to take full advantage of the information they provided. The two weeks between that initial screening blood draw and our meeting with the genetics counselor to discuss the results were not pleasant ones for my husband and me. The “what-ifs” were overwhelming.” Read the full blog post here



Monday, January 8
5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
61 Jefferson Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
One of your New Year’s Goals is to be more active in the fight for reproductive rights, isn’t it? The Pro-Choice community in Columbus can help secure access to safe and legal abortion care throughout Ohio. We’ll be supporting efforts in Northwest Ohio to make sure their only abortion provider remains open to the public. 
Volunteers will be calling Toledo residents to ask them to urge ProMedica to sign a transfer agreement with Capital Care Network. This may be the last and only chance to ensure women have access to abortion in that community. Find out more and RSVP here.
Wednesday, January 10
9:45 AM – 11:45 AM
Ohio Statehouse, Senate Finance Room
1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215
Once again the Ohio legislature is attacking access to abortion in Ohio. This time by forcing abortion providers to follow different rules for disposal of biological tissues than all other medical providers. These regulations do not improve the health and well being of women in our state. They are regulations aimed at shaming women who chose abortion and forcing abortion clinics to close. Find out more about the event here.
Hosted by: NCAA Women’s Final Four and Columbus Local Organizing Committee
Thursday, January 11
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Networking and reception begins at 5:30 PM with the program starting at 6:00 PM
Marriott Columbus University Area
3100 Olentangy River Rd., Columbus, OH 43202
Coaches, administrators and student-athletes are all influencers disrupting gender biases in collegiate athletics. Be part of a conversation with the NCAA Women’s Final Four and The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio as we explore how you can spark change in our culture and community. 

Join panelists Bob Ghiloni, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Denison University, Karen Dennis, Director of Track and Field and Cross Country at The Ohio State University, Jaden Lunger, men’s soccer student-athlete at Otterbein University, and Cayla McNeil, former women’s lacrosse student-athlete at Otterbein University. The panel will be moderated by Sarah Pariser, Director of Grants and Programs at The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. Find out more and register online here.


NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio: Columbus Organizing Meeting

Thursday, January 11
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Columbus Metropolitan Library – Driving Park Branch
3434 E. Livingston Ave., Columbus, OH 43205
Join Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio and NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio for our January Organizing Meeting! We welcome to to join us to regroup and ground ourselves in our organizing and community. Over the last few months the Ohio State Legislature has pushed through a number of abortion bans and restrictions through both the House and Senate. We’ll be debriefing our advocacy and targeting tactics used before Holiday recess, talk about upcoming / anticipated fights, and introduce new programs and opportunities to get involved. We want to hear from you and what you’d like to be doing to help combat attacks on reproductive healthcare and rights! Light snacks and beverages will be provided! Find out more and register online here
Visit our Partner Events Calendar for more details on future events hosted by our coalition partners across the state.

We are tracking the progress of any state bills affecting women in the Ohio Legislature for the 132nd General Assembly. The legislature is returning to start the 2018 session this upcoming week with a number of committee hearings. Here are some updates for activity to watch for in the House and Senate:
  • HB 435 (Antani, Craig) – Body Cameras: The bill would establish that policy body camera footage be made public record with certain exceptions to protect privacy, including the following: a confidential investigatory record, a video within a private home, a video within a private business, or a video of a sex crime victim. The House Government Oversight & Accountability Committee will hold a first hearing on the bill for sponsor testimony on Wednesday, January 10. The Committee will meet at 9:30 AM in Statehouse Room 114. 
  • SB 28 (Uecker) – Abortion: Would require fetal remains from a surgical abortion at an abortion facility to be disposed of by cremation or burial. The Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee will hold a third hearing with all testimony and possible amendments and vote this upcoming Wednesday, January 10. The Committee will meet at 9:45 AM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. 
  • SB 201 (Bacon, O’Brien) – Reagan Tokes Act: Would require released violent offenders wearing GPS monitors to have set geographic boundaries and would give law enforcement the ability to access the GPS data without a subpoena. A companion bill is moving in the House, as well. The Senate Government & Oversight Committee will hold a third hearing for opponent testimony on the bill this upcoming Wednesday, January 10. The Committee will meet at 9:45 AM in the Senate Finance Room.
We will keep tracking any new updates and will be sharing timely legislative updates on these and other women-centric legislation on Twitter using the #OHLeg hashtag. Follow us to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the Statehouse.


At the conclusion of the 2017 legislative session, the Ohio legislature passed the Down syndrome abortion ban (HB214) out of the House and Senate. The bill was then signed into law by Governor Kasich before the end of the year, making it the 20th restriction to abortion and reproductive health care that he has signed since taking office in 2011. Ohio is now the fourth state to pass such a law, despite similar legislation in Indiana being blocked by the a federal judge for being unconstitutional.

The legislation will charge a doctor with a fourth degree felony if they performed an abortion procedure for a woman if the reason for seeking to terminate the pregnancy is in part due to a Down syndrome diagnosis. During a time when Ohio women and families are facing a complex prenatal diagnosis, lawmakers should not stand in the way of a health care decision that should, instead, be a decision informed by comprehensive medical information and made in consultation with a woman’s family and doctor.


Now, as we head into the 2018 legislative session, there are a number of bills being considered by the legislature that would further restrict access to abortion and reproductive health care. Take action to call on your legislators to stop the bans:
1  Find and contact your legislators, and urge them to stop advancing harmful restrictions to abortion and reproductive health and to oppose bills restricting access, including HB258 and SB145.
2  Use this letter writing tool from our partners at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio to urge your legislators to oppose HB258 and SB145, abortion bans still pending in the legislature