January 22, 2023, marked the fiftieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade - the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision federally protecting abortion access – a decision that had been overturned just months earlier. This time last year, abortion access in Ohio hung by a thread and Ohioans had already experienced the devasting realities of our gerrymandered state’s draconian abortion bans.
A year later, January 22, 2024, Ohio is in a very different place. Legal battles continue, but with one fundamental difference.
The Ohio Constitution explicitly protects abortion access - thanks to you.
Ohioans across the state worked tirelessly to enshrine reproductive freedom in our state constitution. Along with our partners in the Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights coalition, we collected more than seven hundred thousand signatures in three months to qualify our amendment for the ballot. We defeated a bad faith attempt by anti-abortion politicians to end majority rule in our state during an unprecedented August special election. We spoke to our friends and neighbors about the importance of supporting bodily autonomy. And, finally, we voted in November to enshrine the right to make our own reproductive healthcare decisions by a tremendous margin.
Now, on the fifty-first anniversary of Roe, we reflect on this monumental win while acknowledging there’s still more to be done.
Across the nation, people capable of pregnancy still lack fundamental protections to reproductive healthcare. A mother in Texas fled the state after being denied lifesaving abortion care. In Idaho, a total abortion ban – even in medical emergencies – is in effect while the legal battle plays out in the Supreme Court. And once again, abortion access is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court as anti-abortion extremists fight to remove access to mifepristone – a safe and effective medication used in abortion and miscarriage care nationwide for decades.
Here in Ohio, as we fight in court to permanently block S.B. 23 (Ohio’s 6-week abortion ban) from ever taking effect given our new constitutionally protected right, a Black woman was criminalized for experiencing a miscarriage in her home. (Note, a grand jury decided to not pursue charges against Watts on January 11, 2024.)
These instances remind us that our liberation is intertwined. As we fight to see our constitutionally protected right lived out fully in Ohio, we remain in solidarity with those across the nation experiencing their battles for abortion access both at the state and federal levels. We work together for a future free of criminalization of pregnancy outcomes. A future where the maternal mortality crisis is a thing of the past and everyone receives the care they need and deserve.
As we’ve proved in Ohio, anything is possible. We overcame every obstacle our anti-abortion state leaders threw at us in an attempt to thwart the will of the people. Now, on this fifty-first anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we look ahead to living towards the promise of a country where we the people decide when and if we want to have children.