A study from Ohio State University looked at what the outcome might be for people seeking an abortion if it weren’t an option in Ohio. The study comes as lawmakers consider a bill that would make abortion illegal if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
The bill under consideration would allow abortion if the life or health of the mother is in danger, but critics question whether the wording of the bill would give medical professionals the legal protection they need if they perform an abortion under these conditions. The bill does not provide an exception for rape or incest.
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) was asked during a committee hearing at the Ohio Statehouse earlier this week if a hypothetical 13-year-old girl who was pregnant as a result of rape or an incest should be required to carry the fetus to term.
“It’s a shame this is happening, but there is an opportunity for this woman, no matter how young or old, to decide what she is going to do to help this life be a productive human being.” , Schmidt said.
Many abortion bills passed at the Statehouse in recent years do not contain exceptions for rape or incest. Of these recent bills that have been enacted, several have been suspended by the courts.
Currently in Ohio, this 13-year-old and others who become pregnant are within 99 miles of one of nine abortion centers in the state if they choose that option. But if this bill passes, that option would not exist in post-Roe Ohio.
Mikaela Smith, a researcher at Ohio State University’s College of Public Health, worked on a study of abortion access in Ohio if Roe is knocked down. She said it’s important to remember the challenge some Ohioans will face if they’re forced out of state for an abortion.
“For some people, maybe leaving their state isn’t a big deal, is it. In a small state like Delaware or Rhode Island, crossing state lines isn’t necessarily a big deal, but for a state like Texas or here in Ohio, that can actually mean traveling very far,” Smith said.
Payal Chakraborty, an epidemiology student at OSU, also worked on the study. She said that using federal transportation reimbursement rates for travel, Ohioans could spend up to $58 for a one-way trip to an abortion clinic under current state law. State.
“The neighboring states of Ohio also have strict abortion policies. And the best post-Roe scenario is where Pennsylvania and Michigan don’t ban abortion and in that scenario Ohioans would have to travel no more than 279 miles one way, which translates to a cost $163. And in the worst-case, post-Roe scenario, Michigan and Pennsylvania will also ban abortion and in that case, Ohioans would have to travel at most 389 miles, which would translate to a cost of 198 dollars,” Chakraborty said.
Chakraborty said the study also shows that minorities would be disproportionately affected by an abortion ban in Ohio because of the state’s population distribution and the fact that CDC data shows that minorities living in urban areas use abortion more frequently.
Smith said it goes beyond just the cost of driving out of state. She says some people who have insurance might find that it won’t cover abortions outside of Ohio. She added that due to the patchwork of abortion laws, overnight stays in hotels might be necessary in some cases.
Ohio has already passed laws that make abortions more expensive and harder to obtain. And some of them, like the one requiring cremation or burial of fetal remains, are currently suspended by the courts.
This bill has the support of 22 co-sponsors. That’s more than a third of Ohio House Republicans.
Read the report here.
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