Press Releases

Governor Strickland Signs Human Trafficking Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CONTACT: Mike Gonidakis
DATE: Thursday, December 23, 2010                           PHONE:(614) 547-0099ext.301

(COLUMBUS, OHIO) - Governor Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 235 into law today. The new law, which was sponsored by State Senator Teresa Fedor (D - Toledo) and Sen. Tim Grendell (R - Chesterland), makes human trafficking a stand-alone felony offense, and makes compelling a minor under the age of 16 to prostitution a first-degree felony.  Kidnapping for the purpose of involuntarily servitude is now a first-degree felony offense as well.

S.B. 235 passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 32-0 on December 1, 2010 and passed the Ohio House 96-0 this past week.  Ohio now joins 44 other states with felony trafficking offenses.      

Human trafficking is an issue that has come to national attention in recent years with high-profile cases discovered in Ohio.  Currently, Toledo ranks 4th in the nation for active investigations, arrests, and rescues of children who are forced into prostitution.  In addition to creating a human trafficking offense, the law also creates an offense for falsifying or destroying government identification documents for the purpose of trafficking or involuntary servitude. 

"This is a substantial step in the right direction to fight human trafficking and protect vulnerable women and children in Ohio," said Mike Gonidakis, Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life. "By effectively punishing traffickers, this law will affirm the humanity of victims and deter others from engaging in this kind of appalling activity," Gonidakis said.

Ohio right to Life recently adopted a policy position statement regarding human trafficking.  To learn more about human trafficking, visit our information page by clicking HERE.

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New Government Report Shows Historically Low Abortions in Ohio

Despite Poor Economy, Ohio’s Abortions Decreased in 2009 

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Ohio Right to Life Annual Meeting Announcement


Pursuant to the Code of Regulations of the Ohio Right to Life Society, the purpose of this memorandum is to provide formal written notice of the time and place for the annual meeting of Ohio Right to Life Society.  Please know that this annual meeting is limited only to members of the Ohio Right to Life Society and registering for the meeting is required.    

What:         Ohio Right to Life 2010 Annual Meeting

When:         Friday, November 5th, 2010 at 6 p.m.
Where:                Vineyard Columbus Church *
                           6000 Cooper Road
                           Westerville, OH 43081

* Please note the location has changed from previous years. For a Map of Vineyard Church, CLICK HERE
* Buffet dinner is included at no charge to members 


The annual meeting is an opportunity to interact with others in the pro-life movement and to learn more about ORTL activities past, present and future.  One primary purpose of the annual meeting is for ORTL members to assist with setting the direction for the organization, electing directors to the ORTL Board of Trustees and to recognize outstanding member and chapter activities.

Further, the annual meeting serves as an opportunity to hear from ORTL members who wish to address various pro-life topics.  The annual meeting allows the ORTL management to update all members regarding advancements of Ohio’s pro-life movement during 2010 and to introduce new initiatives for 2011.  The members of ORTL will also have the opportunity to vote on a slate of Member Trustees for re-election and election to the ORTL Board of Trustees to include:

Brian Arnold
Laurie Elsass
Kevin Kelly
Patrick Kunklier
Nancy Petro
Rodney Schuster
Scott Wiggam
Lori Willmann

  • Members in good standing must RSVP by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19th in order to participate and to secure a seat. Email [email protected] with your contact information: name, address and phone number.  Specify in the subject line of the email “Annual Meeting Registration.”
  • If you have any questions about the annual meeting, please contact Erin Cain at [email protected] or by calling (614)-547-0099 ext. 302.
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Ohio Right to Life Court Victory Upholds Free Speech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           CONTACT:  Mike Gonidakis
DATE: September 15, 2010                            PHONE:    (614) 547-0099 x - 301


(COLUMBUS, OHIO) - The Ohio Right to Life Society praised the approval of a consent decree today by Federal District Judge George C. Smith that upholds the Society’s and other groups’ first amendment right of free speech.

Ohio Right to Life originally filed suit against the Ohio Elections Commission and the Ohio Secretary of State in 2008. In this consent decree, the parties and the court agree that Ohio’s restrictions on communications supporting or opposing candidates, paid for by corporations or by labor organizations, are unconstitutional insofar as they relate to independent advocacy (that is, advocacy that is not authorized by or coordinated with any candidate).

As a result, corporations, including ORTL, are now free to use the treasury funds to issue communications supporting candidates not only internally but publically using all types of media.

“This consent decree does not authorize direct contributions to or coordination with candidates,” said Executive Director Mike Gonidakis. “It simply protects the free speech rights of corporations, labor organizations, and advocacy groups, like everyone else, to tell people the candidates they support and why,” Gonidakis said.

Ohio Right to Life, represented by attorneys from Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan, & Aronoff and the Center for Competitive Politics, argued that the Ohio statutes barring it from making independent expenditures was in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case decided earlier this year.

Earlier in the litigation, Judge Smith had ruled that a state law that would have prohibited non-profit advocacy groups from airing advertisements mentioning the name of a political candidate within 30 days of an election was unconstitutional.

“Our mission is to protect life in Ohio 365 days a year. Like any advocacy organization, we have an obligation to talk about our beliefs when the public is choosing those who will have the power to make crucial decisions on whether to protect innocent human life,” Gonidakis said.

To view a copy of the consent decree, click HERE.

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Congresswoman Kaptur's Office Attacks Pro-Life Groups

Recently, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur's spokesperson, Steve Fought, made highly controversial statements attacking pro-life groups for opposing Congresswoman Kaptur and the new health care law (see ).
Kaptur's office contends that an executive order signed by President Obama eliminates any pro-life concerns with the new law. Mr. Fought said, "Their political agenda, anti-Obama, is stronger than their belief in consistency when it comes to pro-life issues."
"Some people you're never going to satisfy. Some people, it's never enough. And those folks fall into that category," Mr. Fought said. "If you're talking about the organizations themselves, they were opposed to it. But, if you talk about the individuals, it depends on the individual.... Sometimes organizations don't represent the interest of their membership necessarily, and I think that's the case here with the executive order."
There is so much wrong about these comments that it is difficult to know where to begin.
Congresswoman Kaptur's office conveniently forgets that that when the U.S. House passed a version of the Health Care bill in November of 2009 with specific language to prevent taxpayer funded abortions, Right to Life took a neutral position. 
It was only after the U.S. Senate stripped out the House's pro-life amendment that Right to Life opposed it. Thus, as to Mr. Fought's contention that "you're never going to satisfy" pro-life groups and that "it's never enough", clearly the original House pro-life amendment was "enough" to satisfy Right to Life's concerns about the bill's effect on abortion.
As for Mr. Fought's statement that "there's nothing in the bill that promotes abortion", the Senate added provisions that specifically authorize insurance companies to cover elective abortions in plans supported by federal subsidies. 
The Obama executive order does not (and could not) override this provision. Rather, it directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to comply with it.
As far as Mr. Fought's assertion that pro-life groups were not representing the views of it members, not only do members of pro-life groups oppose government promotion of abortion, but so do the great majority of Ohioans. 

In a January 2010 poll conducted for Ohio Right to Life, 1001 registered Ohio voters were asked: "Do you think that health insurance that is paid for or subsidized by taxpayer money should include coverage for abortions, or should abortions be excluded from coverage in such situations?"  65% of Ohio voters said abortion should not be covered, while only 22.1% said that it should be covered.
Thus, when Congresswoman Kaptur turned a deaf ear to the requests of pro-life groups, she was ignoring not only those groups, but also the wishes of the majority of Ohioans.

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John Boccieri is Wrong on Abortion and the Health Care Bill

In a letter to constituents, Congressman John Boccieri states that the new federal health care law (which he voted for) "prohibits insurance companies from paying for abortions if they receive tax credits or federal dollars." He also states that the health care law "requires individuals who require an abortion outside of the cases provided by the Hyde amendment to pay for it themselves." To read a copy of the letter, CLICK HERE.

Mr. Boccieri, please CHECK YOUR "FACTS."

In fact, the health care law specifically authorizes insurance companies to pay for elective abortions in plans supported by federal subsidies. Although the law requires an accounting gimmick in which covered individuals are required to send separate premiums which are used to pay abortionists, this gimmick overlooks the basic nature of these federal subsidies.
Boccieri also says the health care law "requires (that) health center funding adhere to the Hyde restrictions." In fact, the health care law makes an appropriation of BILLIONS of dollars for Community Health Centers (CHCs) which is not subject to the Hyde Amendment restriction on funding elective abortions
Although the President proclaims to extend the Hyde amendment to this new funding, an executive order cannot trump Federal Law, only action by Congress can.

Not only is Boccieri's explanation of the health care law's provisions on abortion MISLEADING, but the law itself has a provision that deters the flow of accurate information about abortion coverage. That provision prohibits insurance companies from advertising which plans cover elective abortions and require separate payments to pay abortionists.

Imagine - an Act of Congress that not only promotes insurance coverage for elective abortion but has the gall to try to keep people in the dark about it.

Thanks to Congressman Boccieri and the others who voted for the federal health care bill, you don't need to imagine it anymore - it really exists.

Mr. Boccieri, you are just plain wrong!

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Paula Brooks' Fiscal Reputation?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT: Mike Gonidakis

DATE: Wednesday July 7, 2010                                            PHONE: (614) 547-0099 ext. 301


Paula’s Payback?

Pro-Abortion Group Backs Brooks

(Columbus, Ohio) – Today, the Ohio Right to Life Society called upon on Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks, who was recently endorsed by EMILY’s List, to address two specific questions relating to her alleged fiscal prudence. 

A recent General Accounting Office report indicated that six abortion-providing or promoting organizations received more than $1 billion in federal funding between FY 2002-2009.  By far the most funding, $657.1 million, went to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates, who performed 305,310 abortions in 2007.

Planned Parenthood is far better at feeding from the public trough than convincing individuals to donate to their cause.  In FY 2008, Planned Parenthood affiliates received 88% more from government grants and contracts ($349.6 million) than contributions and bequests ($186 million).

An October 14, 2009 Columbus Dispatch article indicated that Brooks voted to “squeeze” $50,000 out of the county budget for a grant to Planned Parenthood to teach sex education to Columbus kids.  Brooks, at the time of the vote, indicated that Planned Parenthood had been a regular recipient of grants from the county.

Brooks’ campaign website claims that she has “a reputation for strong fiscal prudence.”  However, if she thinks “squeezing” money out of a tight county budget to pay an abortion-provider to teach kids about sex is the best use of public funds while folks struggle to make ends meet, what will she do if she has a say about the huge federal budget?

The Ohio Right to Life Society and its members have two simple fiscal questions for Paula Brooks:

1) Do you support using our tax dollars to pay for abortions? 

2) Would you support limiting government funding to Planned Parenthood to no more than the amount it can raise in donations from private individuals and groups?  

“Why should taxpayers be forced to pay more to an abortion-providing organization than it is able to raise through voluntary tax-deductible donations from its supporters,” said Mike Gonidakis, Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life Society.  “This would seem like a modest request, unless the test for public funding is not really support from the public, but the support of some public officials,” said Gonidakis.


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Ohio Senate Passes Bill on Judicial Bypass of Parental Consent for Abortion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  CONTACT: Elyse Putnam
DATE: May 27, 2010                                             PHONE: (614) 547-0099 ext 309

Ohio Senate Passes Bill on Judicial Bypass of Parental Consent for Abortion

(COLUMBUS, OHIO) - On May 27, 2010, the Ohio Senate voted 22 to 11 to pass S.B. 242, a bill to revise the process of judicial bypass under Ohio’s Parental Consent for Abortion statute.

Under federal court rulings, parental consent statutes must permit a minor girl to “bypass” the parental consent requirement by convincing a juvenile judge either: 1) that she is mature and well enough informed to decide whether to have an abortion; or 2) that the abortion is in her best interests.

S. B. 242, which is sponsored by Sen. Tim Grendell (R, Chesterland) and Sen. Karen Gillmor (R, Tiffin), addresses the fact that some judges are giving virtual “rubber-stamp” approval to these judicial bypass requests. In a 2008 Columbus Dispatch article on bypass hearings, one Franklin County judge indicated that she had never denied a bypass request and another judge stated that she had denied only one request. A 2003 Akron Beacon Journal survey found a bypass approval rate of either 86% or 92% (the latter when a county that lumped voluntary dismissals with denials was excluded).

S.B. 242 would require:

• that the girl must prove her case by “clear and convincing evidence”;

• that the judge ask about the girl’s understanding of the possible physical and emotional complications of abortion and what she would do if she experienced such complications; and

• that the judge ask about the extent that the girl has been “prepped” about how to answer questions and what testimony to give at the bypass hearing.

“We are pleased that the Ohio Senate has recognized that abortion can have serious life-changing effects on a young girl,” said Mike Gonidakis, Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life. “S.B. 242 would require that, before cutting a girl’s parents out of the abortion decision, a judge must make sure that the girl understands the possible negative effects of abortion. It would also require the judge to determine whether the girl’s testimony really reflected her maturity or the ‘coaching’ of others,” Gonidakis said.

The bill now goes to the Ohio House of Representatives. To read a copy of written testimony in support of this bill by Mark Lally, Legislative Counsel, click HERE. 

Ohio Senators voting the PRO-LIFE position FOR S.B. 242 were: Steve Buehrer; John Carey; Gary Cates; Kevin Coughlin; Keith Faber; Bob Gibbs; Karen Gillmor; David Goodman; Tim Grendell; Bill Harris; Jim Hughes; Jon Husted; Shannon Jones; Tom Niehaus; Tom Patton; Tim Schaffer; Kirk Schuring; Bill Seitz; Jimmy Stewart; Mark Wagoner; Chris Widener; and Jason Wilson. (22)

Ohio Senators voting the PRO-ABORTION position AGAINST S.B. 242 were: Capri Cafaro; Teresa Fedor; Eric Kearney; Dale Miller; Ray Miller; Sue Morano; Tom Sawyer; Joe Schiavoni; Shirley Smith; Fred Strahorn; and Nina Turner. (11)

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Ohio Right To Life
65 E State Street, Suite 300
Columbus, Ohio 43215

[email protected]
(614) 547-0099
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