Student Union | Photo by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University Social Work Club hosts members of the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for a presentation on abortion rights for social workers and Q & A session for current social work students.
The National Association of Social Workers enhances professional growth, development and standards to grow social policies, according to the association’s website.
Social Work Club advisor, professor of social work Dr. Jennifer Hughes, approached Danielle Smith, executive director of the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, who came to provide an update to students on current abortion access in relation to social work as well as answer any questions students may have.
Megan Gibson, treasurer of Social Work Club, felt frustration at the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, so the treasurer wanted an event that addressed these issues.
“I’m a big advocate for reproductive rights, and with the frustrations of Roe v. Wade being overturned, I was like, ‘What can we do during our first meeting?’,” Gibson said.
Vice president of Social Work Club Patricia Shupe felt similarly.
“I think right now, women’s rights is kind of going through a weird phase in our history, and I think it’s really important that speakers like this come and talk about issues that need to be talked about and discussed,” Shupe said.
In Smith’s presentation titled “State of Abortion Access and Reproductive Rights in Ohio,” Smith approaches this topic in many respects.
Smith promoted advocacy, legal action, implementation in practice for abortion access and reproductive rights in social work.
“NASW affirms all individuals have a right to bodily autonomy, that abortion is health care and that all individuals have the right to freedom of choice in accessing essential health care services, most especially their reproductive health,” Smith said.
The presentation also touched on the current uncertain nature of abortion access in Ohio.
House Bill 704, which would have enacted a full abortion ban in Ohio, did not progress, but Smith warns that potential legislation could pass in the future.
House Bill 480, which would allow anyone to sue a doctor who performs an abortion or a person who “aids or abets” an abortion, has not progressed, but could have negative ramification for social workers who fall under this category.
“I think all Wright State students should be aware of what’s happening because, even regardless of their individual opinion about abortion, what is happening in Ohio curbs our individual freedom and healthcare access, even broader than abortion access,” Smith said.
Smith’s presentation continued to cover abortion history locally and abroad, constitutional rights, ethical responsibility to social workers’ clients and past Ohio bills. Locally, Lebanon, Ohio prohibited providing emotional, logistical or informational support concerning abortion.
The presentation concluded with NASW’s strategy for protecting reproductive rights, including advocating to stop further restrictions on abortion, stopping aiding and abetting, establishing legal resources and working with others to bolster efforts.
Smith will consider an event of this nature again in the future.