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Dear Editor:

As a Cincinnati native and advocate for both reproductive and racial justice, I am deeply concerned by the ongoing efforts of Ohio legislators to pass draconian restrictions on abortion care, miscarriage care, and contraception. Worse still, these legislators falsely claim to have the support of Black communities in Ohio — the same communities who are most harmed by bans on reproductive care.

Black women will always bear the brunt of abortion bans. We are already 2.6 times more likely than White women to die during pregnancy, and states with abortion bans have 62 percent higher maternal mortality rates than other states do.

In my day-to-day role with Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, I have seen firsthand the harm and detrimental health consequences abortion bans have on Ohioans and their families, especially for Black and Brown communities who suffer most from disparities in healthcare. This is especially troubling for me as the mother of a young Black woman. She deserves to have full autonomy over her body and to make choices that allow her to live her best life. I am voting YES on Issue 1, the Right to Reproductive Freedom amendment, because I trust Black women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. I believe that Black women deserve to live and to thrive. We deserve to decide when, if, and under what conditions we give birth, and we deserve to do so in safe environments.

Voting YES on Issue 1 — a commonsense solution that stops the Ohio government’s life-threatening abortion ban, with no exceptions for rape and incest — by November 7 is the only way to protect Black women across the state and ensure that all Ohioans are able to make the best medical decisions for themselves and their families, without government interference.

Rashida Manuel

Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this commentary piece do not necessarily the express the opinions of The Cincinnati Herald.