Protecting Women Survivors
Parental rights legislation passes House

State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) today announced the passage of HB 257, legislation which protects survivors from custody battles who become pregnant as a result of rape.  The bill prohibits parental rights to men who father children through rape when there is a conviction or plea of guilty to rape or sexual assault.  The bill passed out of the House with a unanimous vote of 93-0.  

HB 257 prohibits custody and visitation without the consent of the child’s mother or guardian. It also permits a survivor to terminate specified parental rights of the father.

“No woman who has survived the trauma of sexual assault should have to face the possibility of further victimization through a custody battle with her rapist,” said Rep. Antonio. “However, that is precisely the situation in which some survivors have found themselves.” Rep. Antonio was compelled to draft this legislation as the events unfolded in the Ariel Castro case and hopes this legislation will protect women in similar situations to Amanda Berry in the future.

In 2011, 7,972 sexual assault victims reported to Ohio Department of Public Safety-OIBRS-reporting law enforcement agencies, which cover approximately 75 percent of Ohio’s population. 85 percent were female victims and 15 percent were male victims.  60 percent were juvenile victims and the average age of victimization was 15. 


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Antonio Responds To Latest Ohio Opioid Crisis Report


The lead Democrat on the Ohio House’s Health Committee, Democratic Whip and state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), today responded to the latest dire report on Ohio’s statewide opioid overdose and addiction emergency.

The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences released the report “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis” Tuesday, highlighting the grim realities many in the state are experiencing, but also making a case for greater treatment access and expanded educational and economic opportunities for Ohioans.

“This report confirms that treatment is necessary to stem the tide of this opioid crisis, and clearly we do not have enough treatment options currently available,” said Antonio. “We can do better. We must do better. Taxpayers deserve better economic opportunities, a strong and affordable educational foundation, and greater access to healthcare services – all things that we know will prevent opioid addiction and abuse.”

The report points to low education levels and limited job opportunities as central underlying causes of opioid abuse.