A new bill introduced in the Ohio legislature this week wants to outlaw abortions performed through telemedicine.
In a telemedicine abortion procedure, a doctor sends prescribed medication to a patient’s home where the procedure happens via telecommunications. This type of medication abortion is “approved for use up to 10 weeks of gestational age,” according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The Ohio Department of Health and Services does not keep track of how many of these “at home” abortion procedures occur, according to cleveland.com. Furthermore, the number telemedicine abortions occur in America is unknown.
If Senate Bill 260 does become law in the Buckeye State, Ohio would become the 20th state to ban telemedicine abortions. Right now, 21 states have laws requiring doctors to be physically present during the telemedicine abortion procedure.
State Senator Steven Huffman, who introduced this bill and has worked as a physician, said this piece of legislation is “vital for patient safety.”
“While it’s too late for the unborn baby who will undoubtedly lose her life, physicians should never take this procedure so lightly as to fail to even be present when administering a drug that is known to have such serious side effects,” he said. “It is a doctor’s duty to ensure that patients are not exposed to greater risk by recklessly dispensing drugs that are known to have life-threatening consequences.”
Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president and executive director of Ohio Right to Life called SB 260 “life-saving legislation.”
“As more clinics move toward providing non-surgical abortions only, there are notable health risks to women that need to be taken into account. At the same time, abortion advocates are beginning to push for risky ‘at-home’ abortions to circumvent existing federal regulations,” she said.
“The abortion pill is far too dangerous a drug to be dispensed remotely. Convenience cannot outweigh the risks to women’s health and safety, Krider added.”
According to the Ohio Right to Life press release, Mifeprex regimen, the most common drug used in many non-surgical abortion procedures before ten weeks, accounted for 30 percent of all abortions two years ago in Ohio.
Not everyone supports this piece of legislation, Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told cleveland.com that this bill does not factor in a woman’s health.
“The fact of the matter is 1 in 4 women have an abortion some point in their lives,” she said. “To make this inaccessible is not good health care, it’s not good public policy. That’s the opposite of patient safety.”
In 2018, 20,425 abortions were performed in Ohio, which is the lowest number since the state started tracking more than 40 years ago, the Toledo Blade reports.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]