Ohio’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation went into effect Tuesday without a legal challenge from groups that advocate for access to the procedure.
In December, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the 20-week ban into law but vetoed a measure that would have barred abortions once a heartbeat can be detected.
“This law is just one more blatant attempt to ban safe and legal abortion in Ohio. Making abortions more difficult to obtain does not put a stop to abortion, it moves them underground, severely endangering the lives of women,” said Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, in a written statement.
Ohio Right to Life on Tuesday celebrated the 20-week ban taking effect with an email to supporters that champions its next target: outlawing dilation and evacuation abortions, which account for the majority of second-trimester terminations.
“Today, as our law takes effect, we are hard at work on the next set of laws that will scale back abortion-on-demand,” said Ohio Right to Life Executive Director Devin Scribner in the email to supporters.
The Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy institute that advocates for reproductive rights, said since 2015 state lawmakers have been moving to ban dilation and evacuation, which would mark a significant step toward the campaign to eliminate abortion in the U.S.
Eleven percent of abortions in the U.S. occur after the first trimester and D&E accounts for 95 percent of those procedures, according to Guttmacher. Seven states have enacted D&E bans.
Ohio has enacted 18 restrictions on abortion since Kasich took office in January 2011, including: defunding Planned Parenthood, requiring abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with hospitals within a 30-mile radius, prohibiting public hospitals from performing abortions or holding transfer agreements with clinics, enacting stricter standards for juveniles seeking judicial bypass instead of parental consent to terminate their pregnancies, and making physicians perform an ultrasound to detect a fetal heartbeat 24 hours before performing an abortion.
With more restrictions in place, seven of 16 abortion clinics have shut their doors in the past several years.
Fewer abortions were performed in Ohio in 2015 than at any time since the state began keeping records in 1976, according to an Ohio Department of Health report. The report shows that the steady decline that has been occurring over the past 15 years continued in 2015, with a slight drop to 20,976 abortions reported in the state.
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