Dec 7, 2021 - News

What overturning Roe v. Wade could mean for Ohio

Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Abortion access would be under threat in Ohio should the U.S. Supreme Court decide to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Driving the news: The nation's high court heard oral arguments last week in a case involving a Mississippi law seeking to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Mississippi's attorney general has asked justices to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion.

Why it matters: Doing so could lead all of Ohio's abortion clinics to close and force those seeking an abortion to travel out-of-state for medical care.

The big picture: Without Roe, abortion laws and access would vary by state rather than through a nationwide precedent, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reports.

  • Abortion would immediately become illegal in a dozen states, including nearby Kentucky and Tennessee.

Zoom in: Ohio could be another state where abortion is effectively outlawed in a "post-Roe" landscape.

State of play: Republican majorities at the Ohio Statehouse passed a law known as the "Heartbeat Bill" in 2019 banning any abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

  • Senate Bill 23 offered an exception for cases in which the mother's life is in danger, but not for cases of rape or incest.
  • A federal judge blocked that bill from taking effect, citing the "well-settled" constitutional right of Americans' access to abortions.

Between the lines: Without the Roe v. Wade ruling to adhere to, Ohio could seek to revive a similar bill

What they said: "Government's role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end," Gov. Mike DeWine said before signing SB 23 into law. "To protect those who cannot protect themselves, such as the elderly, the unborn."

  • "The signing of this bill today is consistent with that respect for life."

The other side: At least 15 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws that would automatically keep abortion legal if Roe is overturned.

Go Deeper: An interactive map shows what post-Roe America could look like.

Data: Axios Research; Cartogram: Sara Wise and Oriana Gonzalez/Axios
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