Published: Apr 25, 2023 by Dr. Brad Cotton

When a fertilized ovum becomes a human being is a matter of medicine, theology and individual moral opinion. No one, no church, no political party has the right to use the power of the state to force their opinion on others.

I have daughters and granddaughters. Republican Rep. Brian Stewart has no right to dishonestly make it very difficult for Ohioans to pass a pro-choice constitutional amendment by changing the rules in the middle of the game. That is cheating, plain and simple, and hurts my daughters and granddaughters.

After California, Vermont, Michigan, Montana, Kentucky and Kansas ( by special election) passed pro-choice ( or refused to further limit abortions) in the November 2022 elections Rep. Stewart suddenly “discovered” that our Ohio Constitution that has worked well since 1912 was urgently in need of his protection from outside big money interests. In fact, by requiring signatures from 88 counties instead of 44, eliminating the “cure” period when more signatures can be gathered as needed and requiring 60% of voters to pass an amendment Stewart’s HJR1 virtually guarantees that only outside big money interests will have the firepower to hire paid signature gatherers and smother us in false expensive television ads. Remember the false claims that China was taking over the Ohio energy grid some years back, or, for that matter, the totally dishonest claims on the airwaves now that a pro-choice amendment eliminates your parental rights?

Stewart should have been shamed when his secret letter to his fellow Republican legislators came to light, revealing his real motives. In Stewart’s own words: “the left” would undo “decades of Republicans’ work to make Ohio a pro-life state”. Stewart and his fellow Republicans, elected from gerrymandered districts that the Ohio Supreme Court ruled multiple times were so unfairly drawn as to be unconstitutional don’t want you, or any judges, to place any limits on their authoritarianism. Stewart noted that Democrats want to “put (then Chief Justice) Maureen O’Connor and other unelected liberals in charge of drawing legislative districts, not only of the Ohio legislature, but control of the United States House of Representatives as well.” Rep. Stewart must be unaware that Ohio Supreme Court justices are elected. Not a good thing for our local representative to be ignorant of how Ohio’s Supreme Court works. So much for “protecting our Constitution”. Stewart’s HJR1 is about taking away the rights of women, and eliminating your right to have your vote count in a fair district.

My daughters and granddaughters have hearts, souls and minds. They are not just incubators, subject to the dictates of pro-life politicians. They will be emotionally scarred if they are forced to carry a non-survivable fetus to full-term. My daughters and granddaughters will hurt if their 10-year-old is forced to leave the state to abort a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, as has already happened in Ohio. Ectopic pregnancy, eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, missed spontaneous miscarriages that become septic or bleed excessively, these conditions maim or kill women that can’t get an abortion. My professional association, the American College of Emergency Physicians mandates that we must do the right thing for our patients, the “ course of treatment necessary to resolve such emergency medical conditions is also under the purview of the physician or other qualified medical personnel … in all, none of these procedures ( abortion) that a physician… deems necessary to treat and stabilize a patient under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ( EMTALA) mandate can be restricted by state laws.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ( ACOG) in a position statement declares “ Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive evidence-based health care. ACOG is committed to protecting and increasing access to abortion.”

With the recent COVID pandemic haven’t we had enough of politicians ignorantly arguing against vaccines, urging us to inject bleach, take horse de-wormer, or swallow UV lights? My daughters and granddaughters do not need to have their rights taken away by Rep. Brian Stewart and Ohio Republicans who would insert themselves into the exam room. Let us stand up for our daughters and granddaughters!