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Study Shows Ohio Still Behind for Reproductive Rights

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Today, only six states have what is considered strongly protected access to reproductive health care. (Steve Rhodes/Flickr)
Today, only six states have what is considered strongly protected access to reproductive health care. (Steve Rhodes/Flickr)
 By Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH, Contact
February 6, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio - President Donald Trump painted a picture of unity in his State of the Union address, but when it comes to the state of reproductive rights, a new report reveals a sharp divide.

In NARAL Pro-Choice America's annual report on reproductive health care, 2018 saw the most pro-choice legislative victories in more than a decade, with 68 pro-choice measures enacted in 23 states and the District of Columbia. However, the report noted severe restrictions on reproductive health care in more than two dozen states, including Ohio.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said attacks on abortion are making it increasingly difficult for women to get the care they choose in a reasonable amount of time.

"Everything from 24-hour waiting periods that require people to travel to a clinic twice, often long-distances, because there are so few clinics, to bans on when in pregnancy a person can access abortion care or for what reasons they can access that care," she said.

Last year, 22 states enacted 50 anti-choice measures. The report found just six states have strongly protected access to abortion services. No state has achieved total access.

With an anti-choice majority on the Supreme Court, Copeland said the 1970s case Roe vs. Wade is facing its greatest-ever threat.

"Our opponents have been working diligently for 46 years to get themselves to the point where they're on the precipice of being able to overturn Roe vs. Wade and create an environment where states could overturn the abortion laws in their states and outlaw the procedure," she said.

The report found that Ohio is among the states that have expressed legislative intent to restrict abortion to the extent allowed by the Supreme Court, which means it could be quick to act should Roe vs. Wade be overturned.

The report is online at prochoiceamerica.org.

Meanwhile, Ohio also received poor marks in another recent report. The Population Institute's annual report card on reproductive health and rights gave 26 states, including Ohio, a grade of D or lower.

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Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest, and funded in part by The George Gund Foundation.

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