The #ProtectChoiceOhio Coalition Pledges a Citizen-Driven Ballot Initiative for 2023
Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights (OPRR) today launched Protect Choice Ohio (PCO), a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that pledges to restore reproductive freedom and abortion access in Ohio by placing a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment on the November 7, 2023 General Election ballot. OPRR is a patient-focused advocacy group of more than 1,400 Ohio doctors who organized spontaneously after the Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Roe was argued before the Supreme Court 51 years ago tomorrow, and for the next half-century, Americans had the right to obtain safe, legal, comprehensive reproductive medical care,” OPRR Executive Director Dr. Lauren Beene said as she announced the groundbreaking effort and formation of Protect Choice Ohio. “Dobbs destroyed that right in an instant, and activation of the medically irresponsible ‘heartbeat law’ that bans abortion after six weeks thrust Ohio into a state of medical emergency.”
“As physicians we cannot stand by idly as unjust court decisions and extreme laws put our patients and our ability to practice medicine at risk,” Dr. Beene continued. “We are acting quickly and decisively by seeking to amend the Ohio Constitution. Today, we are inviting groups and individuals who share our values and beliefs to stand with us in the battle to restore reproductive freedom by joining the #ProtectChoiceOhio coalition at ProtectChoiceOhio.com”
According to OPRR President Dr. Marcela Azevedo, when passed, the carefully drafted amendment will:
- Ensure that Ohioans have access to safe, legal, equitable, and comprehensive reproductive medical care including abortion
- Preserve the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship
- Enable all people to make reproductive healthcare decisions free from government and political interference
- “Our goal is to submit the amendment to the Ohio Attorney General for review and approval as soon as possible so that in early February we can begin collecting the signatures we need to place the issue on the ballot in 2023,” Dr. Azevedo said.
“We recognize the challenge that lies ahead of us,” Dr. Azevedo said. “But we are encouraged and motivated by the support we have received from a diverse group of individuals, businesses and organizations who believe, as we do, that we must restore reproductive rights and abortion access as quickly as possible. There is simply too much including lives, at stake to wait.”
Dr. Beene agreed. “As long as these restrictive laws are in place, victims of rape and incest will be forced to flee the state, doctors will be prevented from treating patients carrying fetuses with fatal abnormalities, terrified mothers will ask pediatricians like me to prescribe birth control for their ten-year-old daughters, skilled physicians will decide to practice elsewhere, and politicians, rather than doctors, will make life-and-death decisions about patient care,” she said. “It would be unconscionable to force Ohioans to endure these conditions one day longer than necessary. That is why we are moving forward now.”
“In the weeks preceding this announcement, we’ve received encouragement and support from a number of prominent business and community leaders who recognize the need for a non-partisan campaign to advance this issue to protect Ohioans,” Dr. Azevedo said. “We are confident that people from across the Buckeye State, whether they are Republicans, Independents, or Democrats, will join us in supporting this initiative.”
Please visit ProtectChoiceOhio.com to join the coalition and to sign up to volunteer.