The time is now for leftist action!
We're supporting Protect Choice Ohio, Participatory Budgeting Cleveland, and opposing HJR 1 and SJR 2 -- and you should too
Democracy is under attack across the State of OH, and the common-sense, workers-first mindset that once propelled this state to international standing has been replaced by a regressive ideology. In order to secure an OH suitable for ourselves and our posterity, we must combat OH Republicans’ subversion of our state and local institutions, advance leftist policy wherever possible, and build a political machine suitable for sustaining our cause.
Protect Choice Ohio
The first initiative we’re supporting is Protect Choice Ohio (PCO), which is a coalition organized by the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights PAC (OPRR). OPRR is a ballot issue PAC who are fighting to amend the OH Constitution to explicitly protect abortion rights. The amendment language, however, is broader than just abortion and in fact covers all “reproductive decisions,” protecting access to contraceptives, fertility treatment, and miscarriage care in addition to abortion. The one exception to this right is in the case of fetal viability, which is where the fetus can survive outside the womb with reasonable supports.
Regardless of your personal opinions about abortion, the fact remains that abortions are an accepted medical procedure that are essential to defending and upholding women’s autonomy and providing comprehensive reproductive healthcare. We do not live in a theocratic state, and the United States was founded in stark opposition to this concept, as is enshrined in the First Amendment. If OH is to develop and prosper moving forward, we need to put measures in place to keep with the times and ensure that the freedom to choose is enshrined as a basic human right.
PCO are already facing aggressive opposition from Protect Women Ohio (PWO). PWO is a dark-money 501(c)(4) organized by a coalition of radical groups, including Ohio Right to Life, the Center for Christian Virtue, and the Right to Life Coalition of Ohio. These regressive theocrats are fighting a war on two fronts.
First, they’re suing to have the PCO amendment broken up into separate amendments because PWO argues that “reproductive decisions” are separate issues that can’t be voted on all at once. We believe this is an argument in bad faith that’s attempting to strain PCO’s coffers in order to hinder their campaigning efforts as well as force PCO to canvas for each “decision” separately. OH’s ballot issue rules are arcane and prohibitive enough, but losing this lawsuit would severely damage the PCO campaign.
Additionally, PWO are waging a propaganda war where they’re presenting the amendment in a troubling light, targeting concerned mothers who want to be involved in their daughters’ lives. If this weren’t enough, PWO ties abortion to trans rights, meaning that they’re attempting to simultaneously kill any commonsense and popular efforts to defend women’s and trans rights in this state. At a time when OH’s population is declining and young people are fleeing the state, you’d think we’d do everything we can to rebuild better. Apparently that’s not the case.
Participatory Budgeting Cleveland
The second initiative we’re backing is Participatory Budgeting Cleveland (PB CLE). They’re a coalition of local and regional organizations who are fighting to amend the Cleveland City Charter to require participatory budgeting for some portion of the annual budget. Participatory budgeting is a practice whereby citizens themselves, not their elected (or appointed) officials, determine how tax money should be spent.
PB CLE began by fighting for the City of Cleveland, under the newly elected mayor Justin Bibb, to allocate 30.8% of its ARPA money—which is equal to Cleveland’s poverty rate—to participatory budgeting. A proposal was submitted to City Council in Jan. 2023 and has faced severe opposition by the men on Council, with all councilwomen supporting the initiative. Just recently, the coalition voted in favor of pursuing a charter amendment and have begun crafting policy language.
Cleveland is a hotbed of corruption, and much hasn’t changed since the days of mob rule and the 2008 county government. To regain public trust in our local institutions, we need to implement direct democratic practices and remove barriers to full participation in our civic processes—not build them bigger and stronger. This begins by returning the power of the purse to the community.
Support PB CLE at https://www.pbcle.com/.
Against HJR 1 & SJR 2
In response to HJR 1 and SJR 2, which require a 60% majority to pass citizen-led amendments to the state constitution, a statewide coalition has formed in opposition to the OH GOP’s latest attempt to dismantle our democracy. It’s as simple as that. Either we fight this attempt tooth-and-nail, or we lose yet another avenue to effect the change we so desperately need.