Columbus — The Ohio Department of Health released their annual Induced Abortions in Ohio report, showing that 20,425 abortions were performed in Ohio in 2018, a 2% decrease over the previous year. The annual state report comes as the Guttmacher Institute has released a new national report looking at abortion data through 2017, the most recent year that national data is available.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “We are seeing two important things in this year’s report. First, abortion remains accessible across Ohio for many of the people who need it—despite relentless political attacks against abortion providers. We are also seeing that like across the country, the Affordable Care Act’s provisions ensuring insurance coverage of birth control have provided a clear and measurable benefit to people looking to prevent unwanted pregnancies in Ohio. It is imperative that GOP leaders in the Ohio Statehouse and Congress stop their crusade to close abortion clinics, fund fake clinics, and defund Planned Parenthood family planning centers. When individuals have access to the healthcare they need, whether abortion care, birth control, or prenatal care, our people, our families, and our communities are healthier.”
Nationally and in Ohio, both abortion rates and birthrates have declined in recent years. As noted by Guttmacher, this suggests that fewer people are becoming pregnant, not that more individuals chose or were made to give birth rather than have an abortion. Nationally, there were 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2017. In 2018, the Ohio rate is 8.7, virtually unchanged from the 2017 rate of 8.9.
On the need to ensure abortion access in major Ohio communities
One of the largest trends in Ohio over the last five years is the increase in abortions offered in Dayton by Women’s Med Center. From 1,798 abortions in 2013 to 2,871 abortions in 2018, the clinic is a critical resource for individuals from across Ohio and neighboring states.
On abortion access in Dayton, Copeland said: “Once a patient has made the decision to end a pregnancy, they need access to abortion care in their community; and for the Miami Valley, that care is provided by Women’s Med Center. It is shameful that Gov. DeWine continues to target this provider using medically-unnecessary rules designed solely to block abortion care. Premier Health should take action to sign a transfer agreement with the clinic immediately so that abortion care will continue to be available to the nearly 3,000 people who rely on their care each year.”
On medication abortion
Nationally, 39% of all abortions in 2017 were medication abortions. In 2018 in Ohio, 30.3% of all abortions were via medication, up from 25.5% in 2017. Ohio has lagged behind the national average because of draconian laws passed by the legislature which required doctors to use an outdated protocol for medication abortion. This changed with a FDA protocol revision in 2016, and since that change Ohio’s numbers have steadily increased.
Nationally, 30% of all abortion clinics are medication-only. In Ohio, three medication-only clinics are open out of nine total facilities, or a comparable 33%. The medication-only facilities in Ohio are Founders in Columbus and Capital Care of Toledo, and Your Choice Health Care of Columbus, which opened in June, 2018 and has only offered medication abortion.
On the need for more clinics in Ohio
Guttmacher’s review of abortion providers also showed that Ohio does not have enough abortion providers. There are 808 abortion clinics in the United States, or 1 clinic per 404,950 people. Only nine clinics (including six surgical centers) are in Ohio. Ohio has 1 clinic per 1.3 million people. Additionally, the number of clinics in the Midwest has decreased by 6% from 2014 to 2017, reducing options for Ohioans who are forced to travel to neighboring states for abortion access. 55% of Ohioans live in a county with no abortion provider.
On abortion restrictions
Copeland continued: “According to a recent report released by the Guttmacher Institute, there is no consistent relationship between increases or decreases in clinic numbers and changes in state abortion rates. But, many of the restrictions in Ohio have been blocked by courts. If the extreme laws passed in recent years are not permanently blocked by courts, we will see a violation of individuals’ health, dignity, bodily autonomy, and reproductive freedom.”
The Down syndrome abortion ban, abortion method ban, and six-week abortion bans all passed within the last two years are all currently blocked by courts.
Ohio Department of Health — Annual Abortion Reports
Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2017
List of abortion clinics in Ohio