On Sunday, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin argued for limiting access to abortion because he believes rape victims are less likely to become pregnant. “If it’s a legitimate rape”, said Akin, “The female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” The research says otherwise. Akin’s offensive comments also come just two weeks after he called for banning emergency contraception. Ohio is no stranger to these anti-women politics, and Todd Akin has friends in the Ohio General Assembly. According to our research, four pieces of legislation that would help rape victims have yet to receive a single hearing, while proposals to limit access to services have marched forward. The Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act (SB 283), introduced by Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), would ensure victims had access to emergency contraception in the ER. Since being introduced on January 18, along with its companion in the House (HB 419), the bill has not seen the light of day. The Ohio Prevention First Act (HB 281 and SB 190) also provides access to emergency contraception and STD treatment for rape victims, but has languished in committee for over a year. This inaction at the Statehouse leaves Ohio women vulnerable to the essential services they need in the case of an emergency. Meanwhile, as pro-women bills gather dust in committee, lawmakers have pushed forward with the Fetal Heartbeat bill (HB 125), which would severely limit Ohioans’ access to abortion without an exception for rape victims. 54 members of the Ohio House voted in favor of the bill, a proposal that even the Ohio Right to Life finds too extreme. Clearly, Todd Akin is not alone in his extreme beliefs about restricting rape victims’ rights, and Ohio is worse off for that.
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