Toledo Humanists Disappointed Gary Johnson Refused To Vote On Six-Week Ban Resolution

Toledo Member of Council at Large Gary Johnson (D)

Toledo City Council passed a res­o­lu­tion on June 26th that con­demned pas­sage of the six-week abor­tion ban by the state leg­is­la­ture back in April. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie sup­port the pas­sage of the res­o­lu­tion. The issue we have was the refusal of Council mem­ber Gary Johnson to vote. He fled the coun­cil cham­bers so he did­n’t have to vote on the res­o­lu­tion.

Johnson is quot­ed in the Toledo Blade:

“I’m some­where in the mid­dle. I believe that abor­tions should be legal, they should be safe, and they should be rare,” he said. “I have two adopt­ed chil­dren, and I refuse to sit there and con­demn some­body for their thoughts, and when you put con­dem­na­tion in a res­o­lu­tion I will not vote for it if my con­science won’t let me.”

“I am very proud of what I did which was just refuse to vote on that par­tic­u­lar issue,” Mr. Johnson said.

We don’t believe any elect­ed offi­cial should refuse to vote on a pend­ing issue and we believe he is mis­in­formed in his rea­sons to refuse to vote.

SHoWLE President Douglas Berger sent to fol­low­ing email to Mr. Johnson:

On behalf of our mem­ber­ship, we are dis­ap­point­ed you refused to vote on R‑296–19 “Opposing and Condemning the Enactment of the 133rd Ohio General Assembly’s Six-week Abortion Ban through Substitute Senate Bill 23” last night dur­ing the coun­cil meet­ing.

You claimed to the Toledo Blade that “I believe that abor­tions should be legal, they should be safe, and they should be rare….”. The six-week abor­tion ban and the oth­er dozen or so anti-abortion laws passed in Columbus since 2013 will not make abor­tion rare, legal, or safe. That has been the agen­da of the major­i­ty in the state house.

These bans will hurt real peo­ple and not just their feel­ings. We are dis­ap­point­ed you put the feel­ings of anti-abortion peo­ple above the basic human rights of women to make their own deci­sions about their own bod­ies. These bans com­ing from Columbus are not based on any real ratio­nal gov­ern­ment pur­pose and are absent any sci­ence back­ing.

You decid­ed not to vote and that inac­tion does­n’t absolve you of the issue and we won’t soon for­get it dur­ing your next elec­tion.

About Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

The mis­sion of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is to pro­vide a sup­port­ive local com­mu­ni­ty for human­ists and oth­er non­the­ists, while pro­mot­ing an eth­i­cal, rea­son­able, and sec­u­lar approach to life through edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice, out­reach, activism, and social events.

We envi­sion a Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan where sec­u­lar peo­ple are respect­ed and inte­grat­ed in broad­er soci­ety, live val­ues of rea­son and com­pas­sion, and enjoy a friend­ly human­ist com­mu­ni­ty.

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger — President

Shawn Meagley


*Update* Gary Johnson respond­ed to our email:

“If this res­o­lu­tion would only opposed and not con­demned, I would have vot­ed in favor of the res­o­lu­tion. To con­demn those who dis­agree with your opin­ion is not an opin­ion I share. I believe in a woman’s repro­duc­tive health rights, but I do hope that the action of ter­mi­nat­ing a preg­nan­cy, would be rare. At the end of the day it is a women’s choice. I could nev­er vote for any law that would take that right away, but this was a res­o­lu­tion, not a law. It was pure­ly polit­i­cal and I chose not to par­tic­i­pate in a polit­i­cal issue that we nev­er got to debate and does not serve the needs of the city of Toledo. ”

SHoWLE would like to point out the con­dem­na­tion was direct­ed to the six-week ban and not the peo­ple who vot­ed for it. If you can’t find pass­ing laws to arbi­trar­i­ly strip peo­ple of their life, lib­er­ty, or prop­er­ty con­demnable, then we aren’t sure what we can say to change your mind.