The Groups behind Ohio’s Issue 1 Favor Child Trans Surgeries, Abortion, Prostitution, and Open Borders
A constitutional amendment that would guarantee abortion until birth is being supported by a coalition of abortionists, transgender activists, and left-wing radicals who believe in transgender surgeries for minors, legalizing prostitution, abolishing police and prisons, erasing the U.S. border, and returning Mount Rushmore to tribal activists who see the monument as “an international symbol of white supremacy.” One of its key leaders boasts of “working on destigmatizing and uplifting sex work.”
Ohio’s Issue 1, which is on the ballot this November, states: “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to” fertility treatments and abortion. Critics such as Protect Women Ohio and the Center for Christian Virtue note the imprecise terms “individual” and “reproductive decisions” could create a constitutional “right” for minors to have transgender surgeries that result in their sterilization.
The group spearheading the effort, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR), describes itself as “a coalition formed by the ACLU of Ohio, Abortion Fund of Ohio, Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, Ohio Women’s Alliance, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Preterm-Cleveland, Pro-Choice Ohio, and” Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE).
Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE)
- An “abortion-positive” group that considers abortion liberating;
- Denounces parental consent or notification laws for abortion as “unethical”;
- Seeks to repeal “all abortion bans,” including laws preventing pregnant mothers from using illegal drugs;
- Calls laws against transgender surgeries for minors “dangerous”;
- Would let men stay in battered women’s shelters;
- Supports legalized prostitution;
- Believes public schools should distribute condoms to minors;
- Demands public schools teach LGBTQIA+ sex education;
- Its Defund the Police agenda asks lawmakers to “Fund Abortion Not Cops”;
- Supports open borders;
- Believes all illegal immigrants should have access to welfare programs, including Medicare and food stamps; and
- Supports lowering the voting age to 16.
Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) was founded in 1992 as ChoiceUSA by feminist and pro-abortion activist Gloria Steinem. The organization believes minors have the right to abortion and transgender procedures without parental input, among other far-left positions.
URGE refers to its members as “abortion-positive” and sponsors an annual “abortion positive tour” to proclaim that “abortion isn’t a bad decision.” The organization vows to “[o]ppose and repeal all abortion bans.” URGE is in favor of every form of indifference to the unborn. The group states, “URGE also opposes policies that criminalize drug-using pregnant people.” Yet URGE opposes the right of pro-life medical staff to opt out of carrying out abortions and transgender procedures, with URGE’s then-policy director, Sarah Inskeep, claiming such proposals are “rooted in racism, oppression, patriarchy, and white supremacy.” URGE’s policy proposals “are deeply rooted in our values,” the group says.
Although the media “fact-checkers” claim it is false that Issue 1’s guarantee for “individuals” to make “reproductive decisions” could create the right for minors to have transgender procedures, URGE — a prime sponsor of Issue 1 — uses precisely this language. “Young people are fully capable of making decisions about what is best for their bodies,” says URGE’s 2020 “Young People’s Reproductive Justice and Policy Agenda” in its section on “parental involvement in abortion.” Two pages later, URGE uses the same language, which echoes Issue 1, for transgender procedures:
“For many young people across the country, comprehensive LGBTQIA+ inclusive sexual health information and services are pushed out of reach by homophobic and discriminatory policies, lack of funding for real sex ed, lack of adequate sexual and reproductive health services, and more. Young people continue to be denied the rights, resources, and respect necessary to live and makesexual and reproductive health decisions with dignity. Our policy goals will end restrictions on and begin robust investment in comprehensive LGBTQIA+ inclusive sexual health information and services, regardless of age, income, zip code, or immigration status.” (Emphases added.)
That is, URGE believes minors’ (and illegal immigrants’) fundamental “rights” include taxpayer-funded transgender “services.”
The Issue 1 sponsor also calls it “dangerous” and “unethical” for parents to be involved in their underage children’s decision to have an abortion or transgender surgery. URGE called it “dangerous” when a Georgia lawmaker introduced a bill banning doctors from (in URGE’s words) “assisting minors with gender-affirming surgeries,” signing the tweet with the hashtag “#reprojustice.” URGE denounced parental involvement laws “limiting minors seeking abortion” as “wack,” claiming they “undermine our autonomy.” Parental involvement laws are “unethical and must be abolished,” tweeted URGE, because every “pregnant person” deserves “full autonomy over their body and pregnancy, regardless of their age.”
URGE strongly supports legalizing prostitution. “As an organization dedicated to gender liberation and bodily autonomy, URGE calls for the full decriminalization of sex work,” states its 2020 agenda. “Criminal justiceresponses to sex work are not only in opposition to our core values; they cause harm to the most vulnerable and marginalized workers — street-based workers, trans workers, and workers of color — while robbing themof opportunities for income in a system that often denies otherwise legal avenues of employment.” (Emphases added. See also the entry for the Ohio Women’s Alliance, which also strongly supports legalizing prostitution, below.)
URGE intends for young people to know about all the mechanics of sex, as it states sex education must include “condoms and contraception, to reduce the risk of pregnancy.”
URGE’s embrace of the transgender agenda would allow men to stay in battered women’s shelters. “LGBTQIA+ youth deserve access to safe, affordable, and stable housing. To that end, URGE supports initiatives that end discrimination in homeless shelters,” states URGE’s policy agenda.
The group embraces the full panoply of far-left causes, including abolition of police, prisons, and all border enforcement, as well as welfare programs for everyone present in the United States. URGE calls for “a world free of prisons and police.” URGE says, “Policing and the criminal justice (which we think of as criminal punishment) system is based in systemic white supremacy and anti-[b]lackness. Because of this, police cannot offer safety to the very communities they oppress.” URGE’s Defund the Police “Fact Sheet” calls for an “immediate reduction in funding, resources, and power until police departments and prisons are completely defunded,” since “the policing system functions exactly as it was intended: to control and oppress Black people.”
URGE regularly promotes the slogan, “Fund Abortion Not Cops.”
The group believes in full, open borders and a welfare state. “URGE firmly opposes the criminalization of migration,” including laws against the “unlawful entry and unlawful reentry” of illegal immigrants to the United States and all “immigration enforcement.”
Transgender procedures are but one public perk illegal immigrants would receive under URGE’s plan. The group proposes extending federal welfare programs to anyone present in the United States, including all illegal immigrants. “URGE supports the expansion of Medicare,” as well as the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)” to “all people, including immigrants regardless of documentation status.”
URGE would also radically transform the electorate of the United States by lowering the voting age to 16 and granting statehood to Washington, D.C. — a move that would add one new Democratic member of the House of Representatives and two Democratic U.S. senators.
Ohio Women’s Alliance (OWA)
- Supports single-payer “healthcare for all,” forcing taxpayers to fund abortion, as well as “hormone therapy and gender affirmation surgeries for LGBTQIA+ folks”;
- Favors legalizing prostitution;
- Calls for “decarceration” (releasing criminals from prison), “abolishing cash bail,” and “abolishing the death penalty”;
- Considers Ohio occupied American Indian territory; and
- Supports the “Landback” movement to turn Mount Rushmore over to tribal activists, who decry the monument as racist.
The first of the Ohio Women’s Alliance’s seven “Pillars of Prosperity” would establish a socialist health care model that compels taxpayers to fund abortion and transgender procedures. “We believe in healthcare for all,” which means “[i]ntroducing a single-payer healthcare system” that “includes [a]ccess to full reproductive care including safe and legal abortion,” as well as “[h]ormone therapy and gender affirmation surgeries for LGBTQIA+ folks.”
Issue 1 supporters have a pronounced interest in legalizing prostitution. OWA declares its support for “[d]ecriminalizing sex work,” and OWA’s deputy director, Jordyn Close, describes herself as “a sex and pleasure advocate … working on destigmatizing and uplifting sex work.”
OWA’s education policy includes “[p]olicies protecting LGBTQIA+ students” (allowing boys to use girls’ showers and locker rooms), “[r]emoving police officers from all schools,” and universal preschool. It supports a law preventing Christian employers from running their business according to their faith’s teachings about “gender identity.”
Despite BLM’s documented financial difficulties, OWA still proclaims its support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
OWA declares its belief in “decarceration” — the release of criminals from prison — as well as “[d]ivestment in police,” “abolishing cash bail” and “abolishing the death penalty.”
OWA supports releasing all illegal immigrants from detainment and granting “self-determination for all, including citizenship if desired.” It asks society to “[a]ddress a culture of toxic masculinity and misogynoir.”
OWA would also radically change elections by implementing “automatic and same-day voter registration” and more vote-by-mail.
OWA asks the government to guarantee all Ohioans “have multiple ways to access healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food” in their neighborhood.
Finally, OWA supports a movement demanding the United States turn over Mount Rushmore, which it denounces as an “international symbol of white supremacy.” Every page on OWA’s website states: “Ohio Women’s Alliance is based in the state now known as Ohio, specifically on Shawnee, Myaamia, Hopewell, Kaskakia [sic] land. … Learn more about LANDBACK and about returning indigenous control over their land at landback.org.” Those who do so will learn that Landback states, “The closure of Mount Rushmore, return of that land and all public lands in the Black Hills, South Dakota[,] is our cornerstone battle,” because “it is an international symbol of white supremacy and colonization.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio
- Lobbying group for the abortion industry, which has opposed late-term abortion protections; and
- Hosts a directory of Ohio surgeons who carry out transgender surgeries.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio (the state arm of the national organization that now calls itself “Reproductive Freedom for All”) opposed provisions in the 2021 state budget that would allow medical workers to opt out of carrying out abortions and transgender procedures, and that prohibited teaching “LGBTQ-inclusive sex education” in public schools. The group’s executive director, Kellie Copeland, called these amendments the work of “extremists.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s website also contains “a comprehensive directory of resources for the trans community,” including at least four surgical businesses that carry out such transgender surgeries as “top surgery” (the removal of healthy breasts) and “bottom surgery” (the removal of healthy reproductive organs, causing permanent sterilization).
New Voices for Reproductive Justice
- Describes itself as “unapologetically Black and queer”; and
- Defines abortion and transgender surgeries as part of “reproductive freedom.”
New Voices for Reproductive Justice considers itself one “part of a powerful, intersectional network and social justice movement based in the human right to control our bodies, sexualities, gender identities and expressions, work, reproduction,” and that society make all these realities “accessible” to every member of society. “New Voices is unapologetically Black and queer and dedicated to the work of Reproductive Justice, a framework founded and built specifically for Black women, girls, femmes, and gender-expansive folx,” says its website.
At the beginning of this year Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and New Voices for Reproductive Justice joined 100 groups in a letter urging Congress to protect “reproductive freedom,” defined as “including abortion, contraception, and gender-affirming care.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio
- The lobbying arm of Planned Parenthood, which carries out abortions and transgender procedures on minors.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio benefit from both interpretations of this amendment, as the nation’s largest abortion business has stepped deeply into carrying out transgender procedures. Nationally, Planned Parenthood committed 374,155 abortions and received $670.4 million in taxpayer funding during its 2021-2022 fiscal year, according to its latest annual report.
Planned Parenthood’s Ohio affiliate, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio (PPGOH), looks forward to increasing its profit margin through this side business. PPGOH carried out “1,874 gender-affirming care visits” in the 2022 fiscal year, according to its annual report. “Your generosity this past year allowed us to continue to expand Gender-Affirming Care for transgender and non-binary patients in our region. Services are now offered at Akron, Athens, Franklinton, Kent, Mansfield, and Old Brooklyn Health Centers.”
“From 2021 to 2022, PPGOH experienced a 544% increase in gender-affirming care visits,” the group announced in a July 2023 press release. “We are proud to increase access to this [permanently sterilizing] care,” said Melissa Braden, PPGOH’s director of gender-affirming care.
With an eye on state law, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio injects cross-sex hormones into adults at this time, although a “therapist’s letter is not required to begin hormone therapy at our health centers,” PPGOH’s website helpfully tells would-be patients.
But other Planned Parenthood chapters, such as the one in neighboring Michigan, refer minors as young as 12 to outside offices that inject puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones. Planned Parenthood affiliates in central California/Nevada, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nebraska inject children as young as 16 with puberty blockers and distribute cross-sex hormones, with parental consent.
- Abortion facility affiliated with WPATH, a group that supports transgender procedures for children as young as eight.
Preterm-Cleveland is an independent abortion facility, which boasts it is “affiliated with and accredited by the preeminent bodies in our field, including … [the] World Professional Association for Transgender Health.” Last June, WPATH lowered the ages at which they advise doctors to begin administering transgender injections and surgeries, advising doctors to administer:
- puberty blockers to girlsas young as eight;
- lifelong hormone dosing at age 14;
- surgically removing a girl’s breasts via double-mastectomy at 15; and
- removing a minor’s genitals at 17.
Psychologist Erica Anderson, who supports underage transgender procedures, resigned from WPATH’s board over the issue. Anderson said families subjected to WPATH’s guidelines “tell me horror stories. They tell me, ‘Our child had 20 minutes with the doctor’” before having the procedures authorized. Yet Preterm-Cleveland maintains its affiliation with WPATH.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio
The ACLU has sued multiple states to quash democratically-enacted bills protecting minors from transgender procedures. ACLU of Ohio has said “abortion and gender-affirming care” have an “intertwined future.”
NARAL and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights are political organizations of abortionists. The Abortion Fund of Ohio will defray, but not totally cover, the cost of an abortion.
Many of these organizations have overlapping personnel:
- OWA’s deputy director, Jordyn Close, is board president of the Abortion Fund of Ohio, a state coordinator for URGE, and describes herself as “a sex and pleasure advocate … working on destigmatizing and uplifting sex work”;
- OWA’s operations director, Sarah Inskeep, is a former regional manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, communications director at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, and state policy director at URGE; and
- OWA’s Member Assistance Program Service Coordinator, Colleen Damerell, worked as the quality and compliance manager at Preterm-Cleveland.
The funding also overlaps. Ohio Women’s Alliance and URGE each received $50,000 from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 2021. In all, PPFA has given URGE $165,000 since 2018. URGE also received $30,000 from the far-left Tides Center and millions from the Ford Foundation.
Other Radical Groups that Support Issue 1
Issue 1 has also been endorsed by the LGBTQ pressure group known as the Human Rights Campaign, which tells teachers to instruct children in preschool that “gender identity” is based on “[h]ow you feel. Girl, boy, both or neither.”
Additionally, OURR advertises the endorsement of TransOhio and Equality Ohio. Issue 1 is also supported by the state chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (once described as “the legal bulwark of the Communist Party”), the Feminist Majority Foundation, Single Payer Action Network Ohio, SEIU Local 1, and the staff union of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
The support of Catholics for Choice may explain why the Issue 1 commercial advocating abortion-on-demand shows a man kneeling in prayer inside a Roman Catholic church.
The groups comprising Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights have intertwined the future of abortion and transgender surgeries for minors in Ohio’s Issue 1. Ohio voters should take them at their word.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.