Access to abortion is a topic about which many people are passionate. This issue has always mattered, but it receives even more attention during election years. When anti-choice rhetoric threatens to harm the health and safety of pregnant people everywhere, the time to speak up and to be abortion positive is now. The upcoming Abortion Positive rally on Thursday, April 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Howard Hall site provides a productive outlet for people to take the opportunity to help protect and expand access to abortion in Ohio. Ohio University organization FEM, an affiliate member of national organization URGE (United for Reproductive and Gender Equity), is hosting the rally in conjunction with All* Above All as part of a national #AbortionPositive Tour. At the event, students can win prizes, including t-shirts and gift cards to local businesses, enjoy free food, snap selfies, and hear abortion stories. Abortion positivity is the key theme, which is critical as this right is being attacked by lawmakers all over the country.
Ohio has some of the worst anti-abortion restrictions in the entire country. While Governor John Kasich is hailed as the moderate choice in the current presidential race, looking through Gov. Kasich’s record demonstrates his serious lack of consideration in reproductive healthcare. He has signed every anti-abortion law that has come across his desk, and he recently defunded Planned Parenthood, which will only cut critical non-abortion related services, including HIV treatment and infant mortality programs. Restrictions he has signed have included a post-20 week abortion ban, a required ultrasound for pregnant people seeking abortions, and a transfer agreement with private hospitals fewer than 30 miles away, which is often impossible. Fewer than ninety percent of Ohio counties have abortion-providing clinics, and half of all clinics have closed during Kasich’s time in office. It is important to note that most of these laws especially target people of color and people with socioeconomic disadvantages.
When over one-third of women will seek an abortion by the age of 45, it is sensible to protect abortion access and to keep it safe and legal. If abortion is not legal, pregnant people will still seek abortions, but they will result in dangerous complications. After severe abortion restriction in Texas, a study at UT Austin found that up to 240,000 women in Texas have attempted to self-induce abortions, which comes with real consequences. We have lived in a world where people have died in back-alley abortion procedures, and nothing should make us return to that time in history. Forced pregnancy is an unethical and antiquated notion that does not belong in 2016. It is more critical than ever before to protect abortion access and to be abortion positive.
Reiya Bhat is a sophomore studying political science at Ohio University.