Columbus — Ohioans’ access to reproductive health care continues to be threatened, both by attacks on local, affordable abortion clinics but also by the potential failure to continue the progress that was started through the Affordable Care act. Today, the state of Ohio released its annual Induced Abortions in Ohio report that showed that 20,672 abortions were performed in Ohio in 2016. This is a 1.45% decrease from the 2015 number.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Deputy Director Jaime Miracle said: “The real story with this year’s report is that Ohio women are accessing more affordable medication abortion at a rate closer to before Ohio law required physicians to use an outdated, less effective, more expensive protocol. When health care policy is shaped by science, not politics, women win. This report shows that the new FDA protocol allows women to access the health care they need and choose the abortion method that is best for them.”
The number of non-surgical abortions increased from 1,195 in 2015 to 3,818 in 2016. This is likely due to an improvement in the FDA protocol that allows for lower dosages and costs. From 2011-2015, Ohio doctors were forced to follow a 3-pill FDA protocol for the most commonly used medication in non-surgical abortions, Mifepristone (also known as RU-486 or the “abortion pill”). In March, 2016, the FDA changed the protocol to allow for a smaller 1-pill dosage, which is the standard for abortion providers in most states. Once Ohio physicians were allowed to use the same smaller dosage that other providers were using, patients were able to pay a lower rate and also reported fewer unwanted side-effects like nausea and vomiting.
Miracle continued: “When over 20,000 women in Ohio are able to access safe, legal, and affordable abortion it means they made an informed decision and received quality care from a professional medical provider. In 2016, highly trained and capable staff at nine surgical facilities served women in need, and we’re eternally grateful.
“Unfortunately, Governor John Kasich and his band of usual suspects have wasted the taxpayers’ time and money in pushing illegal and immoral tactics designed to block access to abortion clinics. Since taking office, Governor Kasich has signed 18 restrictions limiting access to reproductive healthcare in Ohio. Everyone deserves access to safe, affordable reproductive health care, including abortion, in their communities and we will continue to fight to ensure this is the reality in Ohio.”
Since 2011, Ohio has lost half of its abortion providers. Efforts are underway at the federal level to defund comprehensive sex education and insurance coverage for the full-range of contraceptives, as well as a recently announced plan to vote on a federal 20 week abortion ban, similar to the one Kasich signed into law in December 2016. Women need and deserve access to the full range of reproductive health care options and information so they can decide if, when, and how often to have children.
The state releases their annual Induced Abortions in Ohio report each September. You can find this year’s report, along with past data, at: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/healthstats/vitalstats/abortionmainpage.aspx