Ohio Right to Life issues letter against proposed Bowling Green City Council ordinance

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 7:48 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - Bowling Green City Council has proposed an ordinance that would expand its anti-discrimination ordinance.

It would protect people who are breastfeeding, using fertility treatments, hormone treatments, and those who have had abortions.

But Ohio Right to Life has now issued a letter to city council saying the ordinance violates free speech. The organization said they will be challenging the ordinance in court if passed.

“What they’re doing is they are forcing the pro-choice belief and value upon all Bowling Green residents.,” said Elizabeth Whitmarsh, the director of communications for Ohio Right to Life.

But Bowling Green City Councilman Nick Rubando said that is false. He added that council based the ordinance on a similar amendment in Columbus, and there have been no issues or lawsuits there.

“What Ohio Right to Life is doing and a couple (of) other legal institutions are coming into our city, they’re bullying our community, and they’re using legal language as a cudgel to really try to hurt this city financially,” said Councilman Rubando.

But Whitmarsh said they are not bullying. She added that her organization feels the Bowling Green ordinance would hurt pro-life institutions and pregnancy centers.

“Any non-profit that has in its mission statement that they are pro-life, that they are against the practice of abortion, they would now have to hire someone even if they’re pro-choice,” said Whitmarsh.

Councilman Rubando said no pregnancy centers have been closed in Columbus, where the ordinance already exists. In addition, he said that the goal of the ordinance is to protect from discrimination, not force companies to hire anyone. He added that it’s not political.

“There’s nothing in this language that forces people to hire people that are pro-choice in their organization. They’re reading between the lines, they’re creating an issue that’s not there. We’re trying to protect people in our community, not hurt them,” said the councilman.

City council will take a vote on the ordinance on November 7th.

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