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Ohio bill ignores women’s rights

Published: Fri, August 12, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Ohio bill ignores women’s rights

House Bill 78, which makes the medical practice of abortion after 20 weeks illegal, is egregious, dangerous legislation that warrants dialogue and criticism. In a July 28 piece by 21 WFMJ-TV, Mahoning County Right to Life Vice President Don Priester urged people to “recognize [a fetus at 20 weeks] ... as a person who deserves their life.” While I value the rights to life that all persons share, I cannot support legislation that devalues and endangers the lives of women and families who each face unique medical and personal circumstances.

Abortion is not a desirable procedure. At 20 weeks, the decision to terminate can be painful. That no pregnancy is alike, that no family’s circumstances are the same, are critical considerations left out of HB 78. Many fetal anomalies are not detectable prior to 20 weeks — such conditions put families through unimaginable emotional and financial stress. In cases where medical anomalies severely impacting a child’s happiness and health are discovered, it is often the sentiment of the woman that terminating a wanted pregnancy is the most humane, loving option, done in the best interests of the child.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the ability of a woman to seek an abortion during any stage of pregnancy “is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health” of that woman. Exempting mental health from this formula, as HB 78 does, does a grave disservice to women. Women with mental illness are often advised by physicians to cease taking medication, which can be life threatening; accordingly, a physician may determine that it is in the best interests of a woman’s health and the fetus’s that she terminate her pregnancy. HB 78 fails to protect Ohio’s women living with mental illness, and it fails to protect rape and incest survivors and their loved ones, who, having already suffered a dehumanizing crime, are now expected to view an unwanted pregnancy as a triumph over rape.

Molly E. Toth, Struthers

The writer is vice president of Ohio Lady Advocates, a Youngstown-based advocacy group for reproductive rights.


1AtownParent(564 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Not everyone believes in your "God" nor do they believe a country should be run by religions. This country has issues because parents don't raise their kids, especially all those unwed teenage moms having kids. You have religious leaders stealing, philandering and being pedophiles, is that who we should look to for moral guidance? I think not. When people stop being self centered, self serving and selfish, and think about their fellow Americans, that is when things will change, not because some woman isn't allowed to have the medical procedure of her choice.

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2300(573 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I always find it ironic when Evangelicals talk about being "civilized."

Superstitious and scared of your own shadow never seemed very civilized to me.

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3ElleEauElle(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Thank you, Molly, for reminding us that it's not just fetuses who have a right to life--women in this country and our state have the right to life, also. Far too often are the lives and well-being of these women and their families ignored.

You're absolutely right: "Abortion is NOT a desired procedure." No one wants to have an abortion. No one is pro-abortion. People are, however, pro-women and pro-family and understand that life is full of unexpected--and sometimes uncomfortable--decisions that we must make.

The crucial part of that statement is that we have the ability to make our own decisions, and that we live in a state or a country that allows us to do that. People disagree with the decisions of others' all the time, and that's fine. But, completely eliminating the power for citizens to govern themselves and their families is unacceptable.

If we're going to talk about some fictitious Golden Age of America, limiting people's rights over their lives is definitely not the direction to be headed.

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4Anonymouse(36 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Religious extremism has no place in making laws. No matter how loud you shout the word "morals," you're no better than suicide bombers.

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5taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

So many good comments on this subject! We do not all agree on this subject, nor many subjects. But that is supposed to be what our country is about, and also separation of church and state. I just wish people would put that thought process in the forfront when it's something they don't agree with. It seems that only applies for too many people when it's their "side".

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6feelyabr0(2 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Fun fact! The bible makes no statements on abortion whatsoever! Not a single one, even though they were occurring during that time.

A formation of cells that has not developed brain cells yet = not a baby or child. If you want to argue that logic, may I suggest removing your brain and seeing how you function without it?

If it was demonic why would your God allow it?

Think about it, duders.

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7feelyabr0(2 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

PS- America is a secular, not Christian nation. Our constitution specifically states that no law shall be governed according to religion.

Another thing to think about!

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8whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

this christianity is the same that used to sacrafice their children?

i will give you the secret of life for free in 2 words


nothing more nothing less.

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9ProlifeMama(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

HB78 acknowledges our unborn sisters' and brothers' right to live. This right is independent of another's desire or judgment, which is as it should be. Because they are alive, they have the right to continue living.

Claims that late-term abortions occur primarily due to unforeseen fetal anomalies are false. Martin Haskell, creator of the IDX abortion method, also known as Partial-Birth Abortion, admitted that 80% of the PBAs he performed are elective - the mother's choice, not because of any fetal defect.

The Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has compiled statistics that show the vast majority of abortions are done for social, not medical reasons. If abortions were only done in 'hard' cases, there would be virtually none done at all. Even in emergency situations where the mother's life is in immediate danger, it is quicker and safer for her to have a c-section than an abortion, since leaving the child intact removes the risk of fetal parts being left behind in the uterus to cause infection, hemorrhage and maternal death. It also leaves the baby intact, a decided plus. Babies conceived through rape or incest should not have to pay with their lives for the crime of their fathers. And the mothers who have aborted these babies describe the abortion as a second rape, while those who carry them to term overwhelmingly see those children as the one good thing to come from an otherwise horrific experience.

Children with fetal anomalies can live full, enjoyable lives. We have the option to treat their deficiencies as assets rather than liabilities, to provide, to the best of our ability, whatever is lacking, and let them know that in spite of their imperfections, they are loved and wanted and valued. We also have the power to generously respond to the serious difficulties that women in unintended pregnancies face, with love and self-giving. Most mothers don’t want to give up on their children, regardless of the problems affecting their pregnancies. A common regret of post-abortive women is the lack of support, leading them to feel forced into abortion out of sheer desperation. Their universal plaint is, “If only one person had stood with me, I would never have gone through an abortion.”

Mothers and babies are not natural adversaries. Both can not merely survive a troubled pregnancy, but thrive, if they receive the help they need from all of us who can assist them. A mindset has developed over the decades that death is an acceptable 'solution' to social problems. Sometimes it takes the form of 'legalized' assisted suicide; almost always it is perpetrated on the ill, the weak, and the imperfect, by the strong, who arbitrarily decide their fates.

The world in which we live can be healthy and life-affirming if we see sickness, weakness and imperfection as opportunities to serve our fellow human beings, rather than making personal comfort our god, and avoidance of self-sacrifice our goal.

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10ElleEauElle(4 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago


I'm sure that what you say is true in some of the cases. But, there are others where what you say is not true and in fact causes a lot more harm and pain than good.

The problem you raise about women saying, "if I only had one person who stood with me" can go both ways. This issue has become politicized and publicized to a point where the real people involved are being ignored and forgotten. What is right for one woman might not be right for another—THAT is why legislation like HB 78 is dangerous. It assumes ALL women are the same and in the same situation. That's absolutely absurd and not true.

Ideally, perhaps, we should all love and take care of each other. This is not reality as unfortunate as that may be. We must look out for ourselves and our families and, again, that might cause us to make extremely difficult decisions.

Therefore, it is important that we protect our ability to decide for ourselves and our families what is best for them--best for, not easiest. Likewise, we must protect the right to safe, affordable medical care if needed in one of these situations.

Also, no one is talking about partial-birth abortions. And, the large majority of terminated pregnancies, which again are NOT partial-birth abortions, have no mothers or children to speak of, because the women are not yet caregivers to living human children, and the fetuses themselves are not yet living human children. If we are going to talk specifics, use the correct terminology.

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11rocky14(762 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I am a great Liberal Democrat,but murder is murder.
How dare anyone say killing a baby isn't murder.

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12Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

What would life be like if we should lose the satanistic ritual of slaying the unborn ?

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