If you are pregnant and considering an abortion in the state of Ohio, it is essential to know what laws are in place before making a decision. Despite the national political debate over abortion, many of the laws passed are to protect your health and to make sure you are fully informed before making a decision. These objectives are the same for any major medical or surgical procedure.
Current Ohio Abortion Laws
The following laws are in place regarding abortion in the state of Ohio:
Women must receive state-mandated counseling & wait 24 hours for procedure after counseling
The counseling provided lets you know what the abortion procedure is, what the possible side effects are, and what you can expect from the abortion procedure. The waiting period afterward is to make sure you have enough time to fully process the information and make a fully-informed decision. Some women are pressured into an abortion they do not want by family members or their partner, so this law is an attempt to prevent that from happening.
Health plans under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortions in cases such as a woman’s life being endangered or in cases of rape or incest
This means that if you have a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act, your plan will not cover the cost of the abortion except in those cases listed above. Many private insurance plans do cover abortion.
Medication abortion must be administered following FDA protocol
Medication abortion, commonly referred to as the abortion pill, requires the same type of information and oversight that other medication drugs do. The FDA has established a protocol that doctors are required to follow for your safety when taking the medication.
Minors must have parental consent for an abortion
Minors need parental consent for nearly every medical procedure, so lawmakers made the Ohio abortion laws reflect this as well.
Public funding is only available for abortions in cases of life endangerment or cases of rape or incest
This stipulation is similar to the health plans law. Public, taxpayer money cannot be used to fund abortion per federal law.
Women must receive an ultrasound and be offered to see the image
Ultrasounds help women make fully-informed decisions by providing all the information available such as if the pregnancy is viable, how far along the pregnancy is, and images of the pregnancy.
Abortions must be performed before 20 weeks except in cases where the woman’s life is endangered or serious health complications could arise
New scientific discoveries have indicated that the fetus in the womb can feel pain at around 20 weeks, so this law is in place to prevent that.
What about the Heartbeat Bill?
If you follow the news, you may have heard that a new law was passed in the state of Ohio last year. The “Heartbeat Bill” was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor and would limit abortions to the first six weeks of pregnancy. Abortions would not be performed after six weeks because the fetal heartbeat begins around six weeks.
The law does not allow for exceptions for rape or incest and would punish doctors for performing abortions past six weeks
. Patients would not be punished if they had an abortion before six weeks.
The law was passed but was quickly blocked by a federal judge. This means it is not currently being implemented or enforced in Ohio.
If you have questions about the law or need help with your unplanned pregnancy, please contact your local pregnancy center for more information.
Information for this blog about abortion laws in Ohio came from FindLaw.com.