Post-Roe Ohio

Abortion is still legal in Ohio – for now.

Note: On Wednesday, September 14, 2022 a judge in Hamilton County, Ohio BLOCKED Ohio's 6-week abortion ban (SB 23). Although the ruling is only in effect for 14 days, litigation will continue, and the Ohio clinics that brought the lawsuit will seek a longer order keeping the law blocked until the case is over. All clinics in Ohio remain open and are planning to resume the services they offered pre-Dobbs. The FAQ below applies to abortion services in Ohio prior to the Hamilton County judge's ruling.

In 2017, 20,560 Ohioans had an abortion.

Through OPEN’s research, we know restrictive abortion laws and policies make it more difficult and expensive to access abortion care, causing many types of hardship and harm. While we do not know all 20,560 abortion stories from 2017, our rigorous, evidence-based research starts to illustrate the experiences people may have due to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision.

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Experiences of people seeking abortion care
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We know the tangible barriers and costs to care that arise if abortion is unavailable in Ohio: “The median one-way driving distance … [to access care] would rise from 50 to 146 miles, or 264 miles depending on accessibility in Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

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Additionally, every tangible barrier also comes with other, less-measured issues: delayed abortion is often more expensive, childcare during abortion care is logistically complicated, short-term anxiety/stress/low self-esteem can arise, there can be greater exposure to intimate partner violence, and more.

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Stigma itself plays a role in abortion access and safety: “I think it is somewhat dangerous because of how many people against it there are. Some people against abortion are willing to use violence.” – Ohio Survey of Women respondent

“…not everyone will bear these burdens evenly, that Black and Brown people of the global majority, people who are poor, and people who live in rural areas are most likely to be constrained in their ability to obtain abortion care and disproportionately likely to be burdened by the paying for it, by carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term, and by criminalization.

– Danielle Bessett, PhD

Hardship and harm stemming from restrictive abortion laws and policies extends beyond patients. Every person who receives abortion care is aided by clinic staff, case workers, nurses, and doctors who work tirelessly to ensure their patients have robust reproductive health care.

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Experiences of people providing abortion care
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Care providers have to manage conflict between professional ethics and public policy: “You have these scenarios where you know what the right thing is to do, but you also know in your back of your mind that you don’t wanna lose your license or you don’t want to have any legal consequences for doing the right thing.”

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This can lead to emotional turmoil: “I’m in a constant state of despair, anger, frustration, and just waiting for how much worse it’s going to get, because it’s going to get worse. And patients are going to get hurt and harmed, and I think that’s terrifying.”

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Plus, medical institutions often put up additional hurdles that health professionals must navigate before providing abortion care.

“There was not evidence-based research in medicine or public health suggesting that increased legislation was necessary. Reproductive health procedures, including abortion, had already been appropriately regulated through medical channels.

– Alison Norris, MD, PhD

Importantly, restrictive laws and policies around abortion also impact the community as a whole. Legislating definitions of and limits to reproductive health care creates a false narrative around who receives care and what that care should be. This furthers discriminatory practices and bias against people of color, folks in the LGBTQI community, and those with limited or no income.

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Experience of the community as a whole
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The majority of women ages 18-44 in Ohio feel generally supportive of abortion (53% are supportive, 30% have mixed views).

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Cis women who have sex with men are not the only people who might need abortion care. Abortion care – and reproductive health more broadly – is essential care for people of all genders and sexual orientations.

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Increased media and public debate around abortion could lead to some people incorrectly believing abortion is illegal or unsafe, which in turn contributes to public perception of abortion.

Shortcuts:
Map: Immediately Post-Roe
Post-Roe State Scenarios Database
Ohio after Dobbs: FAQ

Findings