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Cincinnati city council votes to allow city's health plan to include abortion coverage

'Local officials must now do whatever we can to protect the women in our communities.'
Aftab on abortion
Posted at 12:08 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 17:37:24-04

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati city council voted Wednesday to approve the inclusion of abortion access on the health care plan for city employees.

Mayor Aftab Pureval said legislation was introduced to repeal a 2001 ordinance that restricts the city's ability to provide coverage for elective abortions in its health plan.

As of Wednesday's vote, that ordinance no longer applies.

On Monday, in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Pureval announced new city policies to ensure employees of the city and their families have access to what he called the "medical care they need."

"Our Supreme Court, congress, our governor, state legislature, they have all failed us," Pureval said. "Local officials must now do whatever we can to protect the women in our communities."

Pureval said history will judge those responsible for this decision and had this message to say to the women of his city:

"You are not alone and Cincinnati is going to fight like hell for you."

In addition to the new legislation, Mayor Pureval said the city will implement a travel reimbursement policy for employees who have to leave the state to get health care services that aren't available in Ohio. Pureval also thanked one of the biggest employers in the city, Kroger, which announced similar services.

Pureval said his administration is looking into ways to decriminalize abortion in the city, and that city police resources will not be used to prosecute women seeking abortions or abortion providers.

"It is not my job to make it easier for the state legislature and the governor to drag women in Ohio back to the 50s and strip their rights. It's my job to make that harder," Pureval said.

Shortly after the SCOTUS decision, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a motion to dissolve the injunction on Ohio's six-week abortion ban, referred to as the "heartbeat bill." He tweeted at 6 p.m. "The Heartbeat Bill is now the law." This law makes abortion illegal after 6 weeks of gestation. Experts say that's before most women know they are pregnant.

What does Roe v. Wade overturn mean for the Tri-State: Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana have different abortion laws
Abortion assistance: Kroger to offer up to $4,000 of out-of-state travel costs for employees seeking abortion
Ohio Planned Parenthood, Right to Life organizations react to Roe v. Wade ruling

Cincinnati will pay travel costs for city employees' out-of-state abortions