Sign saying Fund Abortion not Corruption

Photos by Izro Shaulov

Protesters gathered in front of the Ohio Statehouse to state their disapproval for Ohio’s new budget that limits a woman’s right to choose.

Two protestors in the pro-choice faction, Kelly and Stephanie, announced that though the budget has already passed, they hoped their demonstration could persuade Governor DeWine to use his powers to “line-item veto some of the egregious things in the Ohio state budget this year.

Specifically, they oppose amendments allowing medical providers to refuse medical treatments to people. One of the main points within the legislation is that a medical professional or institution can refuse to give various treatments based on the fact that the treatment in question will violate their conscience, whether it be morally, religiously, ethically, and so forth.

The protesters also oppose putting up barriers to safe sex education - comprehensive, inclusive, medically accurate sex ed. The protestors pointed out how they felt abstinence-only education is impractical to them, feeling that students should understand how to have safe sex in order to minimize confusion and allow the number of unwanted pregnancies to drop significantly.

Many of the protestors seemed to really support Planned Parenthood, an organization that accommodates the various reproductive needs of patients such as providing birth control, abortions, sex education, testing for infections, examinations, and counseling among others. Planned Parenthood is often the target of anti-abortion legislation, as the general public assumes that the only service they provide is abortion. Protestors had signs that were bearing messages.


Another sign had “Save the Children!! Fund Abortion & Sex Ed” written on it.

A banner was held by multiple protestors, saying “FUND ABORTION NOT CORRUPTION.”

Doors with one letter on each of them were held, when all the door messages were put together, it spelled “NOT OUR OHIO.”

Some doctors were joining in solidarity with the pro-choice camp as well, some bearing signs from NARAL with the message “Keep Clinics Open” printed on them.

Many of the protestors had various backgrounds, whether it be different races, ethnicities, genders, wealth, jobs, among other things, they all stood in solidarity with the idea of a woman’s right to choose. They all felt the need to get down to the Statehouse to make their opinions popular and get a certain message across.

Many protestors mentioned how they felt the people “inside that building,” referring to the statehouse, were not representing their best interests and will of the people. There were many chants, some of which were call and response, but one in particular referred to the democratic processes of America. The protestors chanted “This is what democracy looks like” as they were chanting their pro-choice message.

One doctor, Catherine, stood in solidarity stating she was a family doctor and abortion provider, feeling that what was put into the budget was “heinous.” She stated that there were “sensitive and controversial issues that deserve to be debated.” She said she felt it was “inappropriate that those issues were being stuffed into the budget so that we can’t have proper discourse about issues like abortion, sex ed, and conscientious objection.” Going on to state the possibility of doctors refusing care based on their values does not really have to do anything with the budget.

As many cars were honking and showing that they supported the messages espoused by the protestors, representatives from various organizations felt that they should speak through a megaphone to address the crowd of protestors as well as get a verbal message to passersby. One of those who partook in this was Jasmine Henderson with the Ohio Women’s Alliance. She stated that they weren’t just talking about abortion, but to healthcare access in general. Jasmine told everybody to chant “Not my body, Not on my coin” whether it be call and response or in unison with her, she just cared that the message was getting across. Jasmine kept talking about how representatives are paid to represent the people, but instead they were doing stuff against the will of the people. Her message was that humans should look out for each other in order to actually be a civilized society. Henderson went on to say “A civilized society is a humane society,” building on the idea that this budget is not humane, showing that she feels Ohio is not entirely civilized as it is not humane. Henderson continued on to relate to everyone, understanding that most people in the audience had faced oppression in some form before, feeling that it’s finally time to push back.

Not too far away from the pro-choice protestors were pro-life protestors affiliated with the group Created Equal. Surprisingly, they were not out there regarding the budget that had passed. They often stand with their signs with very graphic pictures of aborted fetuses. Some of their members felt that in most if not all circumstances, a woman should give birth and should not have an abortion. One member, Lisbeth, stated that their goal was “to start conversations about abortion and also to expose the gruesome reality to what abortion does to 2,300 innocent babies every single day in America.” Created Equal is based in Columbus, they do a lot of local outreach as well as travel across the country to start discussions.

The Ohio Statehouse had people from both sides of the issue out declaring their message and why they feel their position is the correct one. They both had a similar goal in mind: to get conversation going. One camp just happened to be there as they like to just get involved all over. The other camp made efforts to organize and bring different groups together. This juxtaposition of contrasting ideas helped incubate people’s interest on the issue.