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Explainer: States scramble as US abortion landscape shifts


In California, Michigan, and Vermont, voters will undoubtedly be asked to safeguard the proper to abortion in November.

Abortion protesters try to give away literature because they stand in the driveway of a well planned Parenthood clinic in Indianapolis, on Aug. 16, 2019. AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Almost 90 days after Roe v. Wade was overturned, the landscape of abortion access continues to be shifting significantly in a few states, sometimes rapidly.

Changing restrictions and litigation in neighboring Indiana and Ohio this week illustrate the whiplash for providers and patients navigating sudden changes in what’s allowed where.

Sister clinics who just weeks hence were sending patients from Ohio, where most abortions were banned, to Indiana, where in fact the procedure was allowed, have finally flip-flopped roles following the two states access restrictions reversed, at the very least temporarily.

This is a deeper consider the present state of the shifting national landscape:

What changed this week?

An Ohio judge blocked enforcement on Wednesday of the states ban of all abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected. The ban have been in place since soon after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe on June 24. The judges action allows abortions to resume in pregnancies around 20 weeks gestation for 14 days.

Then, on Thursday, a new Indiana law took effect that bans most abortions, marking its status because the first state in the country to approve new abortion restrictions because the high courts abortion ruling. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the ban into law Aug. 5.

Beneath the new law, abortions are permitted only in cases of rape and incest before 10-weeks post-fertilization; to safeguard the life span and physical health of the individual; or in case a fetus is identified as having a lethal anomaly. A health care provider who performs an illegal abortion or who does not file required reports must lose their medical license.

How is this affecting providers?

All seven Indiana abortion clinics lost their licenses Thursday beneath the states new law, that allows abortions to only be performed in hospitals or outpatient surgical centers owned by hospitals. A lot more than 98% of the states abortions were done by those clinics in 2021.

Abortion clinics in hawaii told The Associated Press they’ll remain available to refer patients out of state, including to neighboring Ohio.

I thought that today will be the worst day, Dr. Katie McHugh, a provider at the Indianapolis abortion clinic Womens Med, told the AP on Thursday. But I believe the worst day was yesterday, realizing that the patients that people saw at work yesterday were the final ones that people would see, and focusing on how much it designed for most of us which were there the staff, the physicians and the patients that people could actually provide that care to the final moment.

Dr. Alison Case who since 2020 provided medication abortions at the South Bend abortion clinic Whole Womans Health will continue her are a family group practice doctor in Indianapolis.

She said she worries for the labor and delivery patients she oversees at a hospital in the town.

I believe theres likely to become more people forced to transport their pregnancies to term, therefore i think well see more deliveries, she said. But I believe, vital that you note, were also likely to see more of the complications.

In Ohio, clinics were finding your way through a high level of patients to arrive from surrounding states following judges ruling though they realize it may be short-lived.

Well, I never likely to be considered a surge state, said Iris Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, utilizing the new lingo of the field. For 14 days, we would be.

Ohio clinics that were prohibited from performing most abortions will resume those services beginning Friday.

How is this affecting patients?

The shifting legal landscape has required patients in affected states to regroup, sometimes repeatedly. Kellie Copeland, executive director of Pro-Choice Ohio, an abortion rights advocacy group, said some have already been struggling to terminate their pregnancies.

Harvey said Planned Parenthood has setup a central location for abortion requests and hired additional staff, oftentimes social workers, to greatly help people navigate various states laws because they change.

McHugh said Womens Med received a large number of calls Wednesday from patients who cannot schedule an abortion that day because of Indianas 18-hour waiting period on the task.

Each time it was a hard conversation, because each time it had been like breaking the news headlines to someone they couldnt obtain care, McHugh said.

Lawyers were still reviewing whether patients traveling from Indiana to Ohio can get not a surgical abortion. The two-pill regimen found in medication abortions would generally mean taking one pill in a permissive state and something in a restrictive state, the latter potentially breaking regulations, providers said.

Anti-abortion groups continue steadily to tout existing restrictions and the brand new ones being passed in the us in the wake of the Supreme Courts ruling.

Ohio is pro-life which law was supported by individuals, said Margie Christie, president of the proper alive Action Coalition of Ohio. Women don’t need abortion in Ohio. We’ve abundant resources for mothers and their children to thrive.

When will the landscape shift again?

With Indianas ban taking effect, the country has 13 states with current bans on abortion at any point in pregnancy and something more, Georgia, with a ban on abortions after fetal cardiac activity could be detected usually around six weeks, often before women realize theyre pregnant.

Though it hadn’t yet been signed by the governor, a ban approved by West Virginia lawmakers Wednesday had already prompted the states only abortion clinic to close, pushing potentially more patients to neighboring Ohio. Arizonas ban is scheduled to activate Sept. 24, with legal cases and legislative action likely to continue steadily to change the status of abortion access of some states.

Then, on Nov. 8, abortion-related measures will undoubtedly be on ballots in at the very least five states. In California, Michigan and Vermont, voters will undoubtedly be asked to safeguard the proper to abortion. In Kentucky, the question is whether to amend hawaii constitution to declare that it generally does not include the to abortion. And Montana voters will choose a measure to require health care for infants born alive after an attempted abortion.

Reporter Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, NJ, contributed to the report. Arleigh Rodgers is really a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is really a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Arleigh Rodgers on Twitter: @arleighrodgers

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