City of Cleveland Policy Announcement Following the Overturning of Roe v. Wade
Monday, July 18, 2022 - Cleveland, OH – Today, Mayor Justin M. Bibb reaffirmed his unequivocal position that abortion is a form of reproductive health care and access to abortion is a human right.
“With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the dangerous restrictions on abortion that have followed, the City is committed to protecting residents’ ability to seek the reproductive health care options that they choose for themselves,” Mayor Bibb said.
Over the last few weeks, the administration has been hard at work—listening to community leaders, assessing our capabilities, working with City Council, and reaching out across the City and the country in the spirt of collaboration.
“We must do everything in our power to defend a woman’s right to choose what happens with her own body - not allow government or activist judges that control,” said Council President Blaine A. Griffin.
To that end, the Mayor and Cleveland City Council are pleased to make six major announcements on how we will protect reproductive rights in the City of Cleveland:
Chief Prosecutor Aqueelah Jordan, in collaboration with Law Director Mark Griffin, have pledged that no City attorney will prosecute, refer for prosecution, or otherwise participate in charging any abortion-related crimes.
2. De-Prioritizing Enforcement
Any investigation into and enforcement of criminal abortion-related charges will now become the lowest priority for the use of City resources, including personnel, time, and funds. This applies to all employees in the City’s executive branch, including the police.
While employees have a duty to uphold the law, the Mayor must also make decisions about how the City spends its limited resources. For police, job number one is keeping Cleveland safe, not prioritizing enforcement of unjust restrictions against vulnerable people. This is even more important considering that both Cleveland and Cuyahoga County prosecutors have committed not to prosecute any abortion charges that reach their desk.
3. Reproductive Freedom Fund
The Mayor is working together with Cleveland City Council to introduce and pass legislation to create a $100,000 “Reproductive Freedom Fund” that would cover travel, logistics, and lodging expenses for Cleveland residents and City employees seeking a legal abortion in a nearby state. This will be an essential resource that ensures all Clevelanders can get the care that they choose for themselves, even when that care is not available locally.
4. City Employee Insurance
Human Resources is exploring the City’s options for its employees’ health insurance plans, to determine whether all health insurance plans offered could cover elective abortions if an employee seeks care out-of-state.
5. Commitment to Not Keeping Pregnancy Information
Under the Bibb Administration, information about individuals’ pregnancy status that would identify a doctor or patient will not be exchanged except in the case of a medical emergency to treat a patient or with the patient’s consent for the purpose of treatment, payment, or health care operations. This is to ensure that this information, inadvertently or purposely kept, is not used against those individuals in the future prosecution of an abortion-related crime or to stigmatize or retaliate against them
The City will do everything that can be done to refrain from keeping or disclosing this information unless medically necessary or otherwise required by law to disclose for the purpose of treatment, payment, or health care operations.
6. Representing Clevelanders at the Ohio Supreme Court
All people and families in Ohio have been under attack since Roe was overturned, but Clevelanders face unique challenges—not just because we are the only majority-minority big city in Ohio, but because of the unique disinvestment that has plagued the City relative to its peers.
The Ohio Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge to the state law banning abortions after six weeks (S.B. 23). Ohioans’ reproductive rights are directly before the Court, and to elevate Clevelanders’ voices to the highest court in the state, the City filed an amicus brief (“friend of the court” brief) on its residents’ behalf in support of overturning Ohio’s six-week ban.
“As we hear about more and more extreme measures being considered at the state level, my administration will continue to look at all possible options—executive, administrative, legislative, and from the bully pulpit,” Mayor Bibb added. “Reproductive rights are human rights, and I am committed to protecting those rights to the maximum extent that I can.”
Councilwomen Stand United | Cleveland City Council
Mayor Bibb Statement on Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade | City of Cleveland Ohio - Mayor Justin M. Bibb