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.
“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.
Douglas Berger – President
*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.