Planned Parenthood patient navigators are rolling with the punches in Ohio
Planned Parenthood now employs Patient Navigators in Ohio to help people access abortions in and out of the state. The non-profit said their employees in the relatively new role have faced challenges because of rapidly changing abortion laws in Ohio.
Last month, doctors were virtually banned from providing abortions at about six weeks–when fetal cardiac activity can be detected.
Now, abortions are legal up to twenty one weeks into a pregnancy because of a ruling made by a judge earlier this month. The legality of abortion could change again before the end of the year depending on legislative action and court decisions.
That uncertainty can make life difficult for Zara Ahmed, a patient navigator at Planned Parenthood in Southwest Ohio.
"There is that underlying level of anxiety where day to day we're not sure what's going to happen,” Ahmed said. “We're not sure if we're going to get news that abortion services are going to stop."
Ahmed said Ohio’s laws have also been confusing for the patients she works with.
"It can be challenging for them to understand why someone from California is able to go and get an abortion tomorrow versus having to wait here in Ohio at least 24 hours, and then having all of these hoops to jump through,” she said.
Last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost appealed the court ruling that has put Ohio’s abortion ban at six weeks on hold.
Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.