Columbus — Yesterday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sent a letter to two of Ohio’s abortion providers instructing them to stop providing abortion care under the order to stop all “non-essential” surgeries and medical procedures.

In response NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Abortion care is a time-sensitive medical situation that cannot be significantly delayed without profound consequences. As part of the continuum of pregnancy care, abortion is provided for almost one in five pregnancies in the United States. Ohioans are continuing to rely on their trusted community abortion providers during this crisis, and Ohio’s elected officials should not stand between patients and their doctors. Abortion is an essential health service. Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Right to Life president and State Medical Board member Mike Gonidakis should not be exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to further their agenda to close Ohio’s abortion clinics.”

Copeland continued: “People decide to end their pregnancies for a complex constellation of reasons that include the impact of pregnancy and birth on their health, ability to work, and strained economic circumstances. These are conditions that do not go away—and are likely heightened—in pandemic conditions. Denying or delaying abortion care places an immediate burden on patients, their families, and the health system, and can have profound and lasting consequences. Patients presenting for time-sensitive care, including abortion care, need timely access to treatment, even during this pandemic. Forcing patients to seek care in neighboring states at this time is reckless and goes against all advice being put forward by Governor DeWine and ODH Director Dr. Acton.”

Some locations may also use telemedicine to provide medication abortion to patients unable to travel to large cities. Telemedicine abortion allows for a patient to visit a health care facility in their own area and speak with a physician in another Ohio city. The patient and physician still complete one face-to-face visit as required by Ohio law, and their hometown doctor is able to provide appropriate patient monitoring and after-care, if needed. Telemedicine abortion is safe, responsible, and should not be banned through pending Senate Bill 260.

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