Council Announces Legislative Package to Protect Reproductive Health
July 22, 2022
COLUMBUS, OH-- In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Ohio's fetal heartbeat law taking effect, City Councilmembers are jumping into action to support the healthcare choices of Columbus residents. Council believes abortion is healthcare. That's why Council's Women's Caucus is pursuing three pieces of legislation to protect the reproductive choices of City residents.
“Our legislative package is inspired by the basic fact that when people have access to a full range of reproductive healthcare services—whether that’s birth control, abortion, or maternity care—they are healthier and their families thrive,” said President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown. “Despite Ohio Republicans extensive efforts to shame residents and control their most deeply personal decisions, this Council will continue to stand up for them—for their bodily autonomy and control over their reproductive lives and for their family autonomy to make decisions about how, whether, or when to be a parent,” she continued.
Ordinance 0143x-2022 will de-prioritize enforcement of abortion “crimes” by directing all city parties, including prosecutors and law enforcement, not to store or share information or conduct surveillance relating to residents’ pregnancy outcomes or reproductive health care procedures. Columbus Police are working hard to solve actual crimes, and officers should not be burdened with the priority to arrest someone for their health decisions.
Ordinance 2216-2022 will provide a $1 million Education and Access Fund to relieve financial barriers to abortion access, such as transportation, childcare and lost wages. The funding will also bolster community education regarding safe and legal reproductive healthcare choices, and ensure continuity of information hotlines, peer support, and case management. The nonprofit organizations leading this work are Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and also Ohio Women’s Alliance with support from Abortion Fund of Ohio.
"The Supreme Court's decision was an attack on people of color, people of low-income, marginalized individuals with no health insurance, victims of rape and incest, infertile people and those who live in health care deserts," says Councilmember Shayla Favor. "It is a blow to bodily autonomy, reproductive health, patient safety and health equity in the U.S. This legislative package was a significant and urgent step. But the work is not done. I am committed to prioritize this work and roll out more legislation in the fall to further protect and support reproductive rights in Columbus."
Ordinance 2215-2022 will allow the City to examine the actions at crisis pregnancy centers. Council is introducing this ordinance to contract with Pro-Choice Ohio on a study to ensure residents of the City of Columbus have access to accurate health information. Crisis pregnancy centers must not be allowed to hoodwink consumers with false and misleading information.
“We are excited to launch a comprehensive reproductive health education campaign later this year," says Councilmember Lourdes Barroso de Padilla. "With a focus on the people furthest from justice—black and brown communities and immigrants, migrants, refugees and the poor and uninsured. With an intentional focus on these communities we hope to narrow the access gap, increase healthy outcomes and improve healthcare options for all.”
The three ordinances will be voted on during the final City Council Meeting before recess on Monday, July 25.