Abortion numbers continue to fall in Ohio

The number of abortions in Ohio dropped to 21,186 last year, the lowest number since Ohio began tracking abortions in 1976, according to the 2014 Ohio Abortion Report released Wednesday.

The number of abortions was generally flat from 1993 to 2001 but has been steadily falling since then, except for a slight uptick in 2012, according to the report published by the Ohio Department of Health.

In 2014, 84.4 percent of abortions were performed at 12 or fewer weeks gestation; 51.7 percent of the women seeking abortions were white while 42.2 percent were black; 85 percent of the women were single; and 71.3 percent were under age 30.

A majority of the aborted pregnancies resulted from unprotected sex: 12,855 reported using no contraception, 3,207 did not report what type was used and 5,124 reported using contraceptive methods that failed.

Ohio Right to Life heralded the steady drop in abortions as a sign that “pro-life initiatives are working” in the state.

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“More and more babies are alive today because of the leadership of Gov. (John) Kasich and our pro-life legislature. Ohio Right to Life will continue to advance its strategic legislative plan to help pregnant women and their children, both born and unborn. The nation continues to watch Ohio and learn from our collective efforts to hold the abortion industry accountable and to put women and their children first,” said Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis in a written statement.

In the past decade, abortion opponents have won key victories that have eroded access to and funding for abortions. Ohio law now prohibits abortions at 20 weeks or later in pregnancy, unless the woman’s life is in danger; requires judges to inquire about a minor’s understanding of abortion before granting a bypass to parental consent; mandates a 24-hour waiting period; requires physicians to perform an ultrasound to detect a fetal heartbeat and give the woman the option to see or hear it; and reorders distribution of federal family planning money so that Planned Parenthood is at the back of the line.

The state now requires abortion centers to have transfer agreements with non-public hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics or receive a variance from the state health department. In the past five years, eight of 17 abortion providers have closed in Ohio.

The two remaining abortion providers in southwest Ohio filed a federal lawsuit earlier this week to challenge some of the recent restrictions implemented by state lawmakers.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Director Kellie Copeland in a written statement that Ohioans face so many barriers to abortion that many are traveling to Michigan, which has seen a six percent increase in abortions.

“Ohio Right to Life brags about a decline in abortions, but what their policies have created are increases for women. Cost is increasing. Travel time is increasing. Risk of losing a job due to absence is increasing. The Ohio Abortion Report only shows the number of safe and legal procedures obtained in Ohio. Poor women are going to seek out unreported, illegal alternatives; or they are going to have to give birth to a child they are unprepared to raise. Ohio women shouldn’t be dragged backwards by John Kasich’s agenda,” Copeland said.

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