Testimonies: A teenage girl in southwest Ohio was raped by a family member and forced to go to Indiana for abortion care | Cincinnati News | Cincinnati

A Hamilton County judge has temporarily restored access to abortion care in Ohio Until October 14.

Judge Christian Jenkins issued an order on September 14 temporarily blocking enforcement of Ohio’s abortion ban for six weeks; He then extended that order for another two weeks on September 20, according to court documents. As of October 14, access to abortion is back to beforeDobbs criteria, giving patients the option of terminating their pregnancy until 20 weeks of gestation, or 22 weeks after the first day of their last menstrual period.

The rule Jenkins banned was Senate Bill 23, or Ohio’s “heartbeat bill.” The law prohibited abortion procedures when a “fetal heartbeat” was detected (medical experts say this is not a true heartbeat, but an intermittent electrical palpitation) or about six weeks into the pregnancy, before most patients knew they were pregnant.

Jenkins block was part of Cleveland Preter vs Dave Yost, a lawsuit brought by several state abortion providers, who were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in Ohio. According to the plaintiffs’ movement, the clinics argue that the six-week ban on abortion care is unconstitutionally vague and violates protections in the state constitution that guarantee individual liberty and equal protection.

“Since it took effect on June 24, 2022, SB 23 has had devastating consequences for the health and well-being of Ohioans seeking basic reproductive health care,” the movement says.

Abortion providers testify against SB 23

The affidavit presented in the lawsuit paints a harrowing picture of patients’ experiences seeking abortions on an almost impossible timeline, including evidence that at least one incestuous rape victim seeking an abortion was forced to flee the state under Ohio’s six-week ban.Dr. Iran Trek, director of operations at MEED Women’s Center in Dayton, testifies in an affidavit that a 16-year-old patient in southwestern Ohio “became pregnant after being sexually assaulted by a loved one.”

The affidavit stated: “The girl was unable to have an abortion in Ohio due to fetal heart tones, so she was compelled to go to Indiana to have an abortion” (Indiana’s abortion ban went into effect on September 15, but a judge ruled on September 22 a preliminary order to temporarily suspend the ban).

Trek continues to warn that out-of-state abortions can pose problems for local law enforcement investigating rape cases.

“The local Ohio law enforcement agency—which was already involved at the time the clinic was contacted about the patient—had to drive to our Indianapolis clinic to retrieve tissue for a crime lab test related to the sexual assault investigation,” Trek testifies. “I am concerned that Ohio’s ban and the need to travel increasingly great distances to obtain abortion care is not only causing unimaginable harm to these young victims, but may also impede law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute these cases in the future.”

Dr. David Borkons directs the Early Abortion Clinic in Cleveland. In an affidavit from Ohio, he cites the example of a young patient who sought an abortion when a medical condition began during her pregnancy that threatened her ability to finish high school. “[O]A young woman who became pregnant towards the end of her senior year of high school, experienced excessive vomiting (excessive vomiting) as a result of her pregnancy. None of the medication I prescribed for her condition worked, and she was so sick that she couldn’t sit in class without vomiting. So the pregnancy prevented the girl from finishing her studies. She had hoped to end her pregnancy and earn her high school diploma, but we had to turn it down shortly after the ban went into effect. We later learned that she had arrived at the hospital in a state of suicide,” Borkons testifies in the affidavit.

“We have at least three patients threatening suicide,” Borkons continues to testify.

Stories of patients threatening to terminate their pregnancy in dangerous and deadly ways are found throughout the affidavit.

One patient said she would try to terminate her pregnancy by drinking chlorine. Another asked how much vitamin C she needs to terminate her pregnancy,” Dr. Sharon Lehner, MD, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, says in the affidavit.

Race against time to end pregnancy

Liner says that in July, 60% of her patients were turned away after an initial ultrasound, and 16% of patients who returned were turned away for the second visit required to detect a “fetal heartbeat.” “However, other patients who show up at their first appointment to be eligible for an abortion in Ohio return to their second appointment after waiting the required 24 hours only to discover that their fetal heart tones have appeared and that they cannot get care in the state,” Liner testifies.

He says because Borkens is involved in the lawsuit city ​​house He was able to give some patients alerts about the possibility of temporarily lifting the six-week ban to help them make scheduling decisions for abortions.

“The people who were very far away when they called, we said, ‘We believe this.’ [court decision] It’s going to happen, “but we’ll also tell them about going to Michigan and Pennsylvania,” Borkons said. city ​​house. “Many of these people have returned since the ban was lifted.”

He says it’s been fully implemented on deck at his clinics in Cleveland and Toledo since the state’s “heartbeat” laws went into effect in June.

“We started staying open seven days a week when the ban started,” Burkons says. “This extra day helps.”

Kirsha Dibble, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, says in a September 19 news release that courts within Ohio have a responsibility to fully restore access to abortion care.

“Although we celebrate this temporary win, we know that true access to abortion care has not been fully restored,” Dibble says. “And while we welcome this important first step, Planned Parenthood in Ohio will stop at nothing to ensure that Ohioans’ rights under their state constitution are respected, including the ability to access reproductive health care.”

The temporary ban on SB 23 is set to expire at October 14.

Medical experts say this is not a real heartbeat, but rather intermittent electrical palpitations

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