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Report: Ohio Out of Step with Views on Reproductive Freedom

According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, seven in ten Americans support keeping abortion legal. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)
According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, seven in ten Americans support keeping abortion legal. (Fibonacci Blue/Flickr)
January 18, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeye State may be in line with many others on reproductive rights, but new research suggests the state is out of step with the views of women.

The 50-state report released Tuesday by NARAL Pro-Choice America rated Ohio among the 26 states where access to reproductive health care is "severely restricted."

But Joel Foster, the group's national political director, said Ohio's anti-choice governor and legislature do not reflect the overall views of the public.

"Based on the extensive research that we've done, seven in ten Americans support keeping abortion legal," he said. "That's not just a majority, that's a consensus. And that consensus includes people from all parts of the country, and of all political leaning."

The report found Ohio is among states that prohibit abortion coverage in state insurance exchanges; subject women seeking abortions to biased counseling requirements; and ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It also found there is no abortion clinic in more than 90 percent of Ohio counties.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue says the findings highlight the uncertain future of reproductive freedom in the United States if President-elect Donald Trump appoints Supreme Court justices who overturn Roe v. Wade.

"Women in this country are just living life as impossible paradoxes, all because anti-choice politicians believe that they should impose their ideology on the rest of us, and refuse to provide women the freedom and support to live our independent lives," she lamented.

Hogue added there are strong concerns about Trump's nomination of Georgia Republican Congressman Tom Price to run the Department of Health and Human Services. She said Price has supported many anti-choice measures, including a ban on federal health coverage of abortions.

"[There are] some anti-choice politicians who sort of go with the flow, and there are some who really feel this in their gut, and Tom Price appears to be the latter," she said. "He spent the vast majority of his time in Congress actually substituting his own ideology for the judgment of his own constituents."

The report says 16 states and the District of Columbia enacted 30 pro-choice measures in 2016. The most were in California.

This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded by the George Gund Foundation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH