One in 10 Ohio women thought abortion illegal amid attempts to ban at 6 weeks

February 17, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Though Ohio never formally enacted a so-called "heartbeat bill" banning abortions after six weeks of gestation, legislative and legal actions appear to have fueled beliefs that abortion is illegal in the state, a new study has found.

One in 10 Ohio women surveyed for the study thought abortion was prohibited. The percentage with that belief increased from 5% to 16% during the study period, corresponding to sustained activity to limit abortions from fall of 2018 through summer of 2019. The study appears in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Maria Gallo, the study's lead author and a professor of epidemiology at The Ohio State University, said repeated legislative attempts at extreme restrictions on abortion, the veto by one governor and support of another, and court actions on the legislation were confusing, even to her.

"There was this long period of time where a lot of different things were happening around this proposal and if you weren't keeping up with every twist and turn it would be easy to think that abortion had been outlawed in Ohio, even though it never was," Gallo said.

The 10% of women in the study who thought abortion was illegal included a disproportionate number of women with other barriers to reproductive health care -- those who were younger, of lower socioeconomic status, unmarried or Black.

"Women who are already facing structural barriers to getting care were more likely to believe it was illegal, so that makes the situation even worse," Gallo said.

During each of the eight months of the Ohio Survey of Women, women who completed the survey answered the question: "Based on what you know or have heard, is it legal to get an abortion in your state?"

Most of the 2,359 participants, 64%, understood abortion is legal in Ohio. Another 26% were unsure, and 10% thought it was illegal.

Abortion is legal in Ohio up to 20 weeks of gestation.

Health care providers should be aware that their patients may not understand their reproductive rights and options, Gallo said.

"It's important to make sure that Ohio women -- and people everywhere -- know what their health care options are. They may be hesitant to ask, particularly if they are under the impression that abortion is illegal," she said.

"Abortion may be hard to access, but it's still an individual's legal right to obtain this health care if she wants to."

Other Ohio State researchers who worked on the study are John Casterline, Payal Chakraborty, Alison Norris and Abigail Norris Turner. Danielle Bessett of the University of Cincinnati is also a co-author.

The study was done as part of the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network (OPEN), a multi-center research collaborative launched in 2018 to study how policy affects reproductive health and equity in Ohio and surrounding states.
-end-
CONTACT: Maria Gallo, Gallo.86@osu.edu

Written by Misti Crane, 614-292-3739; Crane.11@osu.edu

Ohio State University

Related Health Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

MU Health Care neurologist publishes guidance related to COVID-19 and stroke care
A University of Missouri Health Care neurologist has published more than 40 new recommendations for evaluating and treating stroke patients based on international research examining the link between stroke and novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Large federal program aimed at providing better health care underfunds primary care
Despite a mandate to help patients make better-informed health care decisions, a ten-year research program established under the Affordable Care Act has funded a relatively small number of studies that examine primary care, the setting where the majority of patients in the US receive treatment.

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.

The Lancet Global Health: Improved access to care not sufficient to improve health, as epidemic of poor quality care revealed
Of the 8.6 million deaths from conditions treatable by health care, poor-quality care is responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths per year -- more than deaths due to insufficient access to care (3.6 million) .

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health.

High-deductible health care plans curb both cost and usage, including preventive care
A team of researchers based at IUPUI has conducted the first systematic review of studies examining the relationship between high-deductible health care plans and the use of health care services.

Read More: Health Care News and Health Care Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.