Skip to main content

We Are Pro-Life Beyond Birth

By Kristina D. Roegner
September 20, 2023
On The Record

Editor's Note:
This originally appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal on 7/28/2022 as “Sen. Kristina Roegner: After abortion ruling, here's why we're planning to foster children”

Being pro-life means protecting life at all stages. More than ever, it is crucial for pro-life states and the pro-life community to support women who find themselves with unwanted pregnancies with more than words, but also with constructive actions.

The Dobbs decision by the U.S. Supreme Court means an untold number of children will now get the opportunity to live full lives. But, it is important to remember the decision did not outlaw abortion. Rather, the court returned the issue to the states where it belongs. It is abundantly clear that our 50 laboratories of democracy will have very diverse policies addressing this issue.

In Ohio, I was the primary sponsor of the Heartbeat Bill, which passed in 2019 but only recently went into effect following the Dobbs decision. The bill prohibits abortions in our state upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat, with notable exceptions for a woman whose life is threatened by pregnancy or whose health is seriously endangered.

As the mother of three daughters, I got into public service because of my respect for the sanctity of life and to create policy to improve the lives of every Ohioan. Now that more Ohioans will get the chance to live, we must help ensure they have the opportunity to fulfill their promise and purpose on earth.

This is a highly charged and emotional issue, and there is heartfelt passion on both sides. I understand how unwanted children may be conceived under tragic circumstances. That certainly includes the recent report of a 10-year-old rape victim who was advised to go to Indiana to obtain an abortion. Compounding this tragedy, Ohio's Heartbeat Bill has a medical emergency exception that I believe made leaving the state entirely unnecessary.

Rape is a crime. It is repulsive and must be prosecuted. Yet, an individual's worth is never determined by whether he or she is wanted or not.  It is more important than ever to provide women with unwanted pregnancies the support and care they need.

That's why the Dobbs decision isn't an end, it is just the beginning.  We have to be pro-life beyond birth and take a serious look at what needs to be done to make sure every child has an opportunity to have a decent life. We are off to a good start. The Ohio General Assembly has done many things to help women, children, and families.

Legislation has included:

  • Expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers from 60 days to one year, and $23M to support this extended coverage.
  • Providing $13.5M in funding for the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program, which provides critical support and care for women and babies.
  • Increasing access and funding for publicly funded child care centers in Ohio, including an additional $50 million to reduce child care co-pays.
  • Increasing funds for rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs.
  • Providing low-interest loans to help with expenses for Ohioans adopting a child.
  • Increasing the adoption tax credit from $1,500 to up to $10,000, and shortening the time to finalize an adoption.
  • Providing $84 million for Kinship Care Programs to help low-income relatives care for children of parents in crisis situations.
  • Establishing a permanent yearly sales tax holiday in August for clothes and school supplies.
  • Modernizing state guidelines to help ensure consistent, reliable, child support payments.

But there is much more we can do. It would be irresponsible and hypocritical if we didn't take a comprehensive approach to the dignity of life. My husband and I have decided to open our home and begin the process of becoming foster parents. We look forward to providing a loving home to a child in need and will use the experience of going through the foster process to learn firsthand what can be done to further streamline the process for others.

Securing the right to life was the first step. Now, we need to ensure every child has a family who will love and care for them. Our work in the pro-life movement isn't finished. It has just begun.

Ohio State Senator Kristina Roegner, R- Hudson, represents the 27th District.