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Stage Set in Ohio for Battle Over Reproductive Rights

PHOTO: It could be another contentious year in Ohio on reproductive issues. Ohio Right to Life released its 2015 legislative agenda on Tuesday that it says serves as a proactive approach to challenge Roe vs. Wade and end abortion. Pro-choice groups argue the agenda is dangerous for women's reproductive health. Photo credit: ctrouper/Flickr.
PHOTO: It could be another contentious year in Ohio on reproductive issues. Ohio Right to Life released its 2015 legislative agenda on Tuesday that it says serves as a proactive approach to challenge Roe vs. Wade and end abortion. Pro-choice groups argue the agenda is dangerous for women's reproductive health. Photo credit: ctrouper/Flickr.
February 11, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Right to Life released its 2015 legislative agenda on Tuesday, including what it calls six "pro-life initiatives." The group is proposing four new bans on ending pregnancies, including a bill that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks gestation.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said she sees it as what she calls a "dangerous agenda" that could interfere with doctor-patient relationships.

"People receive all sorts of complicated diagnoses during pregnancy; they face a myriad of different situations," she said. "These decisions should be made by women in consultation with their doctors, not by politicians."

In a statement, Ohio Right to Life said the United States is one of only seven nations that permits abortions after 20 weeks.

Ohio Right to Life also is proposing a so-called "trigger clause" that would take effect should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision. It would prohibit all abortions in the state except those necessary to save the mother's life.

Copeland said a ban sidesteps protecting women's health.

"The question isn't whether or not women should be able to have abortions," she said. "It's whether or not they should be able to have them safely, because it doesn't matter whether or not abortion is legal. Abortion will still happen. What matters is, will it be safe?"

Anti-abortion groups in Ohio had a recent series of legislative wins, including a ban on abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, with abortion procedures at a 37-year low, Copeland said she believes the focus should shift to measures that support reproductive health.

"Anti-choice groups refuse to work with us on the things that we know that work - like access to contraception, like access to comprehensive sex education," she said. "But we will continue to pursue those policies, because they're good public policy and good health policy."

The agenda also de-funds an infant-mortality prevention program conducted by Planned Parenthood and provides tax dollars to unregulated anti-abortion facilities known as "crisis pregnancy centers."

Ohio Right to Life's legislative agenda is online at ohiolife.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH