By Elaina Ramsey, Executive Director, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
As a rape survivor and a committed Christian, I am deeply disturbed by Ohio Right to Life's recent decision to only endorse candidates that “hold a ‘pro-life’ position containing no exceptions to abortion stemming from rape or incest.”
I know all too well what it’s like to endure the assault of one’s body and dignity, only to then wrestle with one’s conscience and faith when facing the agonizing possibility of a rape-induced pregnancy. No woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy against her will, no matter the circumstance.
Given that 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual violence, Ohio Right to Life's hardline agenda perpetuates rape culture and harms women’s bodily integrity. Rape survivors should not be punished and traumatized further to carry a pregnancy to term without their full consent.
We must “trust women,” as Kellie Copeland stated, and “it shouldn’t be up to some politician or Ohio Right to Life to decide when a woman can receive abortion care.”
While Ohio Right to Life claims to be non-sectarian, it has a long history of actively engaging in toxic Christian rhetoric to restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare. The actions of Ohio Right to Life do not represent my faith, that of other religious/spiritual traditions, nor the will of most women across our state and nation.
The decision to parent or not is a sacred decision and should remain personal and private. Promoting legislation and supporting politicians who deny women’s consent by making no rape and incest exceptions to abortion is cruel at best and immoral at worst.
That is why, as the leader of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, I will continue to faithfully speak out and advocate for compassionate reproductive care for all— including full access to birth control, adoption, family planning, abortion, and foster care. Anything less dishonors and violates the lived experiences and moral agency of Ohio women, particularly survivors of rape and incest.
A version of this article was published in The Columbus Dispatch.