By Helena Battipaglia
Cincinnati City Council has unanimously voted to repeal a 2001 ordinance restricting the City’s ability to cover elective abortions in its health plan.
The Administration will now change the health plan to include abortion-related services to the extent allowable by law.
“This item is a crucial and overdue step for supporting our employees and their families, but it is only one part of our actions,” Mayor Aftab Pureval said. “I am extremely proud of all the members of this City government for coming together to fight back against the shameful decisions of the Supreme Court and the Ohio State Legislature. Will we not stop defending the rights of the women of our City.”
“This legislation underscores the City of Cincinnati’s unwavering commitment to protecting a person’s right to choose, a person’s right to bodily autonomy, and a person’s ability to control their own reproductive care,” Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney said. “I am committed to supporting this work and look forward to organizing, voting, marching, and lifting up voices that are dedicated to advocating for personal freedom and bodily autonomy.”
“The actions we have taken to preserve this right is a signal to the world that in order to protect the health, safety, autonomy, and dignity of City employees, we must respond thoughtfully, clearly and compassionately,” Councilmember Meeka Owens said. “We are clear that women’s bodies do not belong to the government. The ability to self-determine what life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness means is in fact an inherent right that we will do everything in our power to protect it.”
“Reproductive healthcare is the right of every employee of Cincinnati. I fully support this move to take care of our workers,” President Pro Tempore Victoria Parks said.
“This aligns our City Employee insurance options with both current Ohio Laws regarding healthcare, as well as the options provided to our AFCSME employees. With this ordinance, all City Employees’ reproductive medical benefits are in compliance with all legal healthcare options available in the state of Ohio,” Councilmember Liz Keating said.
Passing this item is only one part of Mayor Aftab and the administration’s actions. Interim City Manager John Curp will be instituting a comprehensive HR travel reimbursement policy for costs associated with travel to receive healthcare services that aren’t locally available.
Additionally, at the mayor’s direction, the Administration will be providing a report within 30 days exploring opportunities to decriminalize abortion in Cincinnati and to prioritize law enforcement resources to protect the health and safety of women and medical care providers.