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People and Planet: Vote ‘yes’ on the Right to Make Reproductive Decisions Including Abortion Initiative

It is imperative to vote “yes” on Issue 1 on Nov. 7 to protect the right to choose in Ohio through codifying the Right to Make Reproductive Decisions Including Abortion Initiative. The issue’s passing would ensure abortion access and other sexual health decisions would remain up to the person, not the state. 

The first part of the initiative would •establish the right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” including those pertaining to abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care and continuing pregnancy. 

The second part of Issue 1 would still allow the state to restrict abortion care after fetal viability except when “necessary to protect the pregnant person’s life or health.” Ohio remains •hostile toward abortion, so while Issue 1 will not be perfect, Ohio must protect itself from even more restrictions such as the six week abortion ban in the stalled •Senate Bill 23. The notorious •“Heartbeat Bill” will go before the Ohio Supreme Court on Sept. 27. If the bill is upheld, there would be no exceptions for rape or incest.

Frankly, the fact that Ohio, or anywhere else in the United States, is still debating abortion and access to contraception is insane. Widespread problems within Ohio like opioid addiction, a deeply flawed foster system and record high human trafficking all accent how painfully near-sighted the Heartbeat Bill is. These issues contribute to why Ohioans need to codify abortion and contraception into the Ohio Constitution as soon as possible.

There are over •16,000 children in foster care and only 7,200 licensed foster homes to place children in Ohio. Ohio also has the •sixth most cases of abuse in foster homes out of any U.S. state, meaning that many licensed homes still are not truly safe. If pro-lifers really cared about children, they would worry about the living, breathing and conscious ones experiencing abuse right now.

Out of the children in Ohio currently in foster care, about 3,000 are eligible for adoption right now. What is truly selfish is not getting an abortion, but to force a child into this world knowing that no one will hold them.

It is estimated that half of those in foster care in Ohio are there because one or both of their parents are addicted to drugs. There are 3,000 more children in the child welfare system today than there were at the start of the opioid crisis seven years ago, bringing another facet of the issue to the forefront: poverty, trauma and drug abuse are deeply entwined. 

Forcing someone who is addicted to drugs to have a child will only hurt both the parents and the child, who will inevitably end up in foster care. The child, with the innate trauma of surviving the system, is then likely to go on to become addicted to drugs and repeating the cycle.

Unwanted pregnancies and drug addiction go hand-in-hand with sex trafficking, and Ohio has rates •higher than the national average, ranking fourth nationally in 2021. Survivors of sex trafficking already endure the trauma of not having a say over their bodies or lives. To make survivors even more vulnerable by putting them through pregnancy is an atrociously irresponsible and inhumane thing to do. Additionally, a baby born out of that type of trauma is more likely to end up in foster care. 

Pro-lifers are not saving anyone. They are subjecting women and children in already difficult situations to a flood of more pain and suffering in a self-righteous fit. Even if Ohio’s foster system wasn’t a mess, even if there wasn’t rampant abuse, sex trafficking and drug addiction throughout the state, there is still no reason for the government to police pregnancies, abortion and access to contraceptives. For the sake of the women and children of Ohio, please vote yes on Nov. 7.

Megan Diehl is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the opinions expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Megan about her column? Email her

Megan Diehl

Assistant Opinion Editor

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