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Ohio clinics that provide abortions are still open after six-week ban goes into effect

The six-week abortion ban signed into law in 2019 is now in effect, after Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, asked for a federal court to lift a legal hold on the law. Yost filed for the law to be instated following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion.

The law bans abortions after the detection of fetal cardiac activity, which can be around six week into a pregnancy. The only exception allowed is if a woman faces a risk of death or serious injury.

But abortion providers are still at work in Ohio.

Ohio’s nine abortion clinics, six of which perform surgical abortions, are still open, according to Pro-Choice Ohio.

Gabriel Mann, Pro-Choice Ohio's communications director, was at a large rally Sunday at the Ohio Statehouse where people gathered to protest the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Mann said the implementation of the six-week ban had an immediate impact.

“Providers across the state had to scramble to cancel patient appointments. They turned away patients and forced them to go out-of-state for the abortion care they needed," Mann said.

Mann said the clinics are providing abortion services to the maximum legal limit.

The six-week abortion ban was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, in 2019. But opponents of the measure challenged the law in court, where a judge issued an injunction.

Kellie Copeland, Pro-Choice Ohio's executive director, said abortion rights advocates are now working to let people know of the services that still exist.

Copeland said that includes traveling to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Illinois depending on where the person seeking an abortion lives. She said there are funds available to help people who cannot afford the extra cost of travel.

The state's six-week abortion ban contains an exception for the life of the pregnant person but there are doctors who have voiced concerns that the fear of possible repercussions could force medical professionals to wait until too late into a pregnancy to provide life-saving intervention.

State lawmakers discussed and held hearings for a proposed total ban on abortion, but the measure was not put to a vote before they left for summer break. Legislators are expected to take up the measure when they return to the Ohio Statehouse, which leadership has said will be in November, after their August primaries and the general election.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.