Statement Concerning the Leaked SCOTUS Abortion Case Decision

Our right to privacy is now in danger

Like many in this country the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie were heartbroken by the content of the Dobbs decision of the US Supreme Court when it was leaked in May. It completely guts a woman’s right to abortion under 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision.

We knew this was a possibility from the decades long effort by religious zealots to overturn the case and send us back to the time of secret back-alley abortions that led to unnecessary deaths.

To be truthful, abortions will still happen, but the abortions will be less safe. Those who are caught in poverty will be worse off and women becoming pregnant due to a rape or incest will have no other options to terminate their pregnancy.

The decision also hints at future attacks on same sex marriage, sodomy, and contraception. Religious zealots want to stomp all of that out and people like Justice Alito, Thomas, and the other conservatives on the court are more than happy to help.

Religious conservatives believe wearing masks and not being allowed to pray in a church during a pandemic is a severe violation of their religious freedom, yet they don’t think twice in using their religion to justify taking fundamental rights from all of us. With this decision, our right to privacy is in danger.

SHoWLE strongly condemns the Dobbs decision. We will never stop supporting a woman’s right to reproductive choice and everyone’s right to privacy.

We also repeat our intention not to work with ANY group that doesn’t support a woman’s right to make her own health care choices. We also will refuse to work with groups who don’t support a right to privacy.

We know it is a big ask to boycott Ohio, which is poised to end legal abortion, but if a business isn’t able to leave or refuse to do business in states that ban abortion, we at least ask those businesses to strongly express their support for a woman’s right to choose and offer to help employees obtain abortions in states where it will be legal.

Besides contacting your elected representatives and supporting any protests against taking the right to choose from women, we also ask that you donate to local abortion groups who help those with less resources to get the care they need.

The Agnes Reynolds Jackson Fund (focuses on NW Ohio and Toledo)

Women Have Options

Preterm

Midwest Access Coalition

Pro-Choice Ohio

National Network of Abortion Funds


Updated on 06/24/2022 when the decision was officially handed down

The vote to overturn Roe was 5-4. Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined Alito’s opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts did not join the opinion. He agreed with the majority that the Mississippi abortion restriction at issue in the case should be upheld, but in a separate opinion, he argued that the court should not have overturned Roe.

The court’s three liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, filed a joint dissent.

Supreme Court overturns constitutional right to abortion

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie Condemns Ohio HB 616

The Board of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie urges legislators and our community members to oppose Ohio House Bill 616.

HB 616 eliminates the ability to teach on and discuss topics like sexual orientation, gender identity, and race. If enacted, HB 616 would attempt to erase discussion of the history and lived experiences of marginalized communities and students. The bill’s broad language will have a chilling effect on learning environments.

HB 616’s definition of anti-racist concepts like diversity, equity, and inclusion as “inherently racist” and its explicit mentions of intersectionality and critical race theory suggest a focus on the sensibilities of a narrow group of adults, rather than deep engagement with the needs and concerns of teachers and students in Ohio’s K-3 classrooms.

Humanists “commit to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity” and “long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern” (The Third Humanist Manifesto). HB 616 directly contradicts our core values by attempting to legislate away any discussion of already marginalized groups.

Listening to people’s stories is at the heart of acknowledging each person’s inherent worth. We can only move toward a world of mutual care by cultivating empathy; empathy cannot be cultivated when the stories, experiences, and histories of marginalized groups are made unspeakable.

It is for these reasons that the Board of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie condemns this bill and others like it.

We also encourage our members to communicate with their State House Representative. You can find your representative by entering your address at the Ohio House of Representatives website.

Further information about the bill can be found here:

House Bill 616 @ Equality Ohio 

House Bill 616 @ Honesty for Ohio Education

Tip of the hat to the Humanist Community of Central Ohio for sharing the format of their statement used above.

SHoWLE Disappointed Ohio AG David Yost Supports LGBTQA Discrimination

image of Ohio Attorney General David Yost smiling
Ohio Attorney General David Yost

Ohio Attorney General David Yost waited until Friday to announce that Ohio will sign-on to a brief for three US Supreme Court cases that will decide if the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQA people. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are disappointed in Yost’s decision and reject his reasoning.

Continue reading “SHoWLE Disappointed Ohio AG David Yost Supports LGBTQA Discrimination”

Berger Spoke At Lights4Liberty Vigil

On Friday evening, July 12th, at Levis Square in downtown Toledo, the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) co-sponsored the Lights For Liberty vigil to End Human Concentration Camps.

Lights for Liberty partnered with international, national, regional and local communities and organizations who believe that human rights are fundamental rights, are not negotiable, and are willing to protect them.

President Douglas Berger was one of several speakers, at the event in Levis square, who highlighted the human rights issue with the immigration detention camps setup around the country.

Continue reading “Berger Spoke At Lights4Liberty Vigil”

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.

Continue reading “Toledo Humanists Disappointed Gary Johnson Refused To Vote On Six-Week Ban Resolution”

Toledo Humanists Condemn Passage Of Another Anti-Abortion Law In Ohio

Toledo, April 16, 2019 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) has issued a statement about the recent anti-abortion bill (also called the ‘Heartbeat’ bill) that was signed by the Governor.

The statement condemns in strong terms the legislature for passing the law that has neither public support nor is it based on any sound scientific facts.

Continue reading “Toledo Humanists Condemn Passage Of Another Anti-Abortion Law In Ohio”

Pastor Protection Act Not Needed And Wrong For Ohio

Testimony given to Ohio Senate committee

TOLEDO, November 28, 2018 – Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) submitted written testimony opposing Ohio House Bill 36, also known as the “Pastor Protection Act”. The bill would repeat 1st amendment protection given to faith practitioners but would also allow religious groups to avoid public accommodation laws even if a property is used for commercial purposes.

This is a very dangerous change in our civil rights,” SHoWLE President Douglas Berger stated in written testimony submitted to the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee today. “This bill would allow religious groups to discriminate against ANYONE that they feel doesn’t conform to their religious beliefs. Do we want to see a church food pantry turning away a needy family because they are Mormon, since this particular church doesn’t believe Mormons are Christians?

Churches and property owned by religious groups aren’t normally required to follow state or federal public accommodation laws when used explicitly for religious purposes. House Bill 36 doesn’t make such a distinction. The bill as written also wouldn’t just affect same-sex couples. A pastor performing weddings at the court house for a fee could decide not to solemnize a marriage because the couple in question are members of the military or a church fellowship hall might require renters to only allow straight people to attend the event.

Religious freedom should be a shield to protect people from persecution and not a sword to give special rights to a favored group that ends up persecuting people not in that favored group, ” Berger wrote.

This bill is a waste of time and taxpayer money for a problem that doesn’t and will never exist. Instead we would like to see the legislature work to make performing marriages more accessible by considering and passing Senate Bill 52 that also amends 3101.08 to allow anyone who registers with the state to solemnize a marriage.

A pastor or priest will never be forced to perform a ceremony that doesn’t conform to their deeply held religious beliefs but HB 36 is being used to discriminate against those who don’t conform to the favored religion – namely LGBTQ people but the vagueness of the law will allow all kinds of discrimination – with the force of the state.

The Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting this week and the hearing for opponents of the bill is Thursday with a possible committee vote following.

It’s saying something when the majority party is rushing to protect pastors and priests from something that will never happen while they continue to ignore helping the victims of clergy abuse,” Berger said.

While SHoWLE doesn’t believe a pastor or priest should be forced to do something that violates the 1st amendment, religious groups shouldn’t be allowed to arbitrarily discriminate in the use of property it owns not being used for strictly religious purposes.

Link to the  full written testimony

About SHoWLE

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.

SHoWLE meets on the 2nd Saturday of each month and all general meetings are free and open to the public. The website is humanistswle.org

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-302-0209

Shawn Meagley – co-Founder
419-266-7945

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We Are Disappointed Ohio House Passed ‘Heartbeat’ Anti-Abortion Bill

Toledo, Ohio, November 15, 2018 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are extremely disappointed that the Ohio House passed the so-called “Heartbeat” anti-abortion law, HB 258, on Thursday.

The Republican party claims to be about protecting our rights but it seems they want to deny basic bodily autonomy to the women of Ohio, a right that seems to be the default for male citizens of Ohio. There are no laws restricting men’s accessibility to health care.

This same Republican dominated state house, in the name of rights, stripped away regulations on the 2nd amendment, ended Ohio cities ability to use Red Light cameras for traffic enforcement, and supported the Reagan Tokes Act and “Sierah’s Law.”

Yet instead of working to better the lives of all Ohioans equally, the Republican leadership decided to waste taxpayer money to pass a law that lacks any rational scientific basis and most likely violates previous federal court rulings. It is a law that would restrict the rights of at least half the population.

Humanists believe that public laws and policies should not be based on religious ideology but should be based on sound objective reasons.

SHoWLE has trouble reconciling a political party that claims it wants to “make America great again” with the constant effort to inject themselves into the medical decisions of women and their Doctors.

This needs to stop.

SHoWLE will continue to support women in Ohio who want to make their own medical decisions without religious intercession.

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
419-356-8568

Shawn Meagley – Vice President
419-266-7945

About SHoWLE:

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.

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