Roe V. Wade overturned: Who this will impact in Ohio

The United States Supreme Court today overturned the constitutional right to abortion, allowing individual states to ban the procedure or impose heavier regulations on it.

The decision erased a 7-2 decision in 1973 by a conservative court that ruled a woman’s decision to have an abortion during the first three months of her pregnancy must be left to her and her doctor.

The Dayton Daily News took a closer look at what we know so far, what could happen next, and how people could be affected.

What does decision mean for Ohio?

Abortion is legal in Ohio. However, the state is among those likely to ban it at some point if Roe is overturned.

The Ohio General Assembly is considering two proposed trigger bans, Senate Bill 123 and House Bill 598, which would ban abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe. The bills include exceptions if necessary to prevent death or significant bodily harm to the pregnant person.

Several Ohio laws also have been passed over the years to restrict abortions but are on hold by the courts based on current precedent. Overturning Roe v. Wade could potentially impact these laws.

Will people travel to other states for abortion?

Travel times and wait times will get longer if a ban happens in Ohio.

If Michigan and Pennsylvania do not ban abortion in a post-Roe scenario, Ohioans would need to travel at most 279 miles to access an abortion provider, according to Payal Chakraborty, a researcher getting a Ph.D. in epidemiology at Ohio State University. She is part of the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network, a collaboration studying abortion and policy.

If those states also ban abortion, the longest distance an Ohioan would have to drive would be 339 miles.

Currently, the longest drive Ohioans have to make is 99 miles to get one way to the nearest abortion facility.

The impact of increased driving distance is not equitably distributed, Chakraborty said, based on her research.

“So people with financial insecurity, people of color and people living in rural areas are disproportionately impacted by a ban on abortion in Ohio,” she said.

Who typically gets an abortion in Ohio?

The decision will impact thousands each year seeking abortions in the state.

There were 20,605 induced abortions in Ohio in 2020, according to the latest annual report by the Ohio Department of Health. This includes 19,438 abortions obtained by Ohio residents (94.3%). While there was an increase in 2020, overall there has been a steady decline in terminations over the past two decades.

The majority of patients who received abortions were in their 20s (59.2%). Most were less than nine weeks pregnant (62.3%).

About 48% of residents who received an abortion in Ohio were Black and nearly 44% were white. About 77.4% of patients reported they were not Hispanic, while 4.6% reported they were Hispanic, though a significant portion (17.9%) didn’t report either category.

About 86% of women with known marital status who obtained abortions were never married, divorced or widowed.

About 38% of women who received an Ohio abortion in 2020 reported a high school degree or GED as their highest level of education. The second most common education level was some college but no degree (22.4%).

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