Ohio again had fewer abortions in 2016, continuing steady decline

Published: Sunday, October 01, 2017 @ 12:00 AM

            The number of abortions performed in Ohio was down again in 2016.
The number of abortions performed in Ohio was down again in 2016.

The number of abortions performed in Ohio declined again in 2016, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Health, continuing a trend of steady decline since the late 1990s.

But Ohio’s abortion rate and ratio to live births were both unchanged from 2015. That means that while the number of abortions went down, so too did the number of women of reproductive age in the state and the number of live births.

The abortion rate both years was 8.9 per 1,000 resident women ages 15-44 years old; the abortion ratio was 142 abortions per 1,000 live births.

MORE: Ohio’s 20-week abortion ban takes effect There were 20,672 abortions performed in Ohio in 2016, with 94.5 percent being obtained by women residing in Ohio. That’s about a 1 percent reduction in the number of abortions from 2015 to 2016. The state health department releases an annual Induced Abortions in Ohio report each September.

In a nutshell, here are some of the findings:

  • 55 percent of all abortions were performed in the first nine weeks of pregnancy.
  • 2.2 percent occurred at 19 weeks or later.
  • 61 percent of the women who had abortions were in their 20s.
  • 63 percent already had at least one child.

“Our goal is to be at zero,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life and a member of the state Medical Board of Ohio, “But we want to be under 20,000 by next year.”

The anti-abortion group credited the decline in abortions to their efforts to shut down clinics throughout the state. Since taking office, Governor John Kasich has signed 18 restrictions on abortion clinics. The laws have resulted in the closing of half the clinics that were open when he took office.

“This report is further proof of how successful the pro-life movement has been in Ohio,” Gonidakis said.

RELATED: Women travel longer distances for abortions But NARAL ProChoice Ohio said the small decline is likely also due to a combination of better access to birth control through the Affordable Care Act and an overall decline in the number of Ohio women of childbearing age.

The number of abortions performed before nine weeks actually increased from 2015 to 2016 as did the number of medical, rather than surgical, abortions.

“The number of medication abortions increased over 300 percent,” said Jaime Miracle deputy director of NARAL ProChoice, “Ohio women are accessing more affordable, medication abortions.”

Ohio previously required doctors to follow a three-pill protocol for non-surgical abortions, but that changed in March 2016 when it began allowing a one-pill protocol that is standard in most states, Miracle said.

The Ohio Supreme Court recently heard two cases that could determine the fate of several Ohio abortion clinics.

The court heard arguments on Capital Care Network of Toledo versus the Ohio Department of Health on Sept. 12 and Preterm-Cleveland, Inc. versus Gov. John Kasich on Sept. 26.

Preterm is challenging the constitutionality of including abortion policy in a budget bill, saying that violates Ohio’s single-subject rule.

Capital Care Network is challenging the state’s decision to revoke its license when the clinic failed to arrange a transfer agreement with a local hospital. The decision in that case could impact the Dayton area’s only remaining abortion clinic Women’s Med Center, which is appealing to keep its state license after it also couldn’t get a transfer agreement or enough backup physicians for a variance.

By the numbers

20,672: Total number of abortions performed in Ohio in 2016.

55: Percent of abortions performed before 9 weeks.

8.9: Number of abortions per 1,000 Ohio women ages 15 to 44.

142: Number of abortions per 1,000 live births.

Source: Ohio Department of Health

It’s the largest bus contract in RTA’s history: Here's what you need to know

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:13 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

After nearly three years of testing the NexGen electric trolley Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is buying 26 of the buses at a cost of about $1.2 million each and will put the first production model on the street by early 2019.

The new NexGen battery-electric trolley buses Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is purchasing might leave people wondering how a bus with trolley poles can be motoring down the road on its own power without a trolley wire in sight. Here are five things to know about the new buses:

The cost: RTA will buy 26 of the buses for about $1.2 million now and 15 more when federal funding can be lined up. The $57.4 million contract with Kiepe Electric of Georgia for buses and parts is the largest bus contract in RTA history.

The battery:This is not your grandfather’s battery. The NexGen has a 3,000-pound Lithium Titanate Oxide battery with a 12-year lifespan that can power a fully loaded bus at full speed for 15 miles off wire.

A 3,000 pound battery powers the NexGen electric trolley that Greater Dayton RTA will buy to replace its current fleet of ETI trolleys.

Bang for buck:The NexGen trolley bus has a lifespan of 18 to 20 years and 800,000 miles. It costs 63 percent more than a standard diesel bus but lasts longer, is cheaper to operate, is better for the environment and quieter, said Mark Donaghy, RTA executive director.

RELATED: RTA to buy 26 electric trolley buses — at $1.2 million each

Testing: RTA tested four prototypes of the NexGen — which is short for Next Generation —before deciding on the electric-battery version. The first production bus arrives in about 15 months and then RTA hopes to get two a month after that.

Old bus retirement: RTA will eventually retire its fleet of Electric Trolley Inc. buses, which have been on the road since 1998 and plagued by multiple problems over the years.

This aging ETI electric trolley is part of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority trolley fleet that will be replaced by NexGen battery-electric trolleys. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(File Photo)

RELATED: A High-cost Laboratory

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Senator Brown calls for greater scrutiny into foreign investments

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 5:50 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 5:54 PM

            Sen. Sherrod Brown. AP Photo
Sen. Sherrod Brown. AP Photo

On Thursday, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced legislation to review foreign investments in the United States to determine whether they are in the best interests of the nation over the long term.

The United States Foreign Investment Review Act would require a review of proposed foreign investments for their impact on the U.S. economy and jobs, give Congress the ability to request additional reviews, and ensure that all reviews are made public.

“Foreign investments should lead to good-paying jobs in Chillicothe and Chesterville — not huge payouts for the Chinese government,” Brown said. “State-owned enterprises and foreign investors determined to put American companies out of business should not be able to invest in our economy at the expense of American workers. It’s simple — before we do business with a foreign entity, let’s make sure it will create jobs and grow the U.S. economy.”

Brown, along with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are continuing to ask the International Trade Commission to make a strong recommendation to President Donald Trump to provide relief to Whirlpool’s Clyde plant in the wake of an ITC ruling finding that the plant was put at a disadvantage by washing machine imports from Samsung and LG.

“We urge you to fully enforce U.S. trade law and recommend strong trade remedies. Doing so will ensure that workers and manufacturers in our state have an opportunity to compete within a fair domestic marketplace,” the senators wrote in a letter to the ITC. “More than 3,000 of Whirlpool’s employees work in Clyde, Ohio, where they make washing machines. These workers’ livelihoods are directly threatened by the nefarious practices of Samsung and LG, and we must continue to fight back against these foreign competitors who are attempting to cheat our trade system.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed into law a bill authored by Portman and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, to reauthorize current research and improve public health programs related to hearing loss in newborns, infants and young children. The bill was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Academy of Audiology, among others.

“Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills,” Portman said. “This measure represents an important step towards improving early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children, and I’m pleased that President Trump has signed this legislation into law.”


Craig Kelly

Tribune Content Agency

Here’s who’s interested in running for Pat Tiberi’s congressional seat

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 5:46 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 5:52 PM

            Here’s who’s interested in running for Pat Tiberi’s congressional seat
Here’s who’s interested in running for Pat Tiberi’s congressional seat

News of Columbus-area U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi’s plans to resign only came out late Wednesday night, but on Thursday morning there already were a number of lawmakers interested in filling his seat.

Republican state Sens. Kevin Bacon of suburban Columbus and Jay Hottinger of Newark each told cleveland.com that they’re interested in taking over Ohio’s 12th Congressional District after Tiberi, a Republican, announced he will vacate the seat by next January. However, both Bacon and Hottinger said they haven’t made any final decisions.

First-term state Rep. Rick Carfagna, a Delaware County Republican, also said he is “certainly considering” entering the race. “It’s a life-changing decision, and I don’t have much time to make it,” he told cleveland.com.

Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo, who dropped out of the Republican state treasurer primary earlier this week, has also been talked about as a potential GOP candidate; he told cleveland.com Thursday that he would “defer comment” on his plans in order to “acknowledge and celebrate” Tiberi’s 16-year congressional career.

One long-shot Republican already threw his hat in the ring even before Tiberi’s announcement: Iraq War veteran Brandon Grisez of Columbus.

Other Republicans rumored as possible candidates said they will not run. State Rep. Andrew Brenner of suburban Columbus told cleveland.com he will run instead for term-limited state Sen. Kris Jordan’s seat in 2018. J.D. Vance, the author of the acclaimed memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” who ruled out a U.S. Senate run earlier this year, told Buzzfeed News’ Henry Gomez that he’s “definitely not interested” in Tiberi’s seat.

And then there’s term-limited Gov. John Kasich, who’s no stranger to the 12th District: the Westerville Republican represented the district from 1983 until 2001. But Kasich, who seems to have his eye on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue these days, isn’t going to run for his old seat, according to spokesman Chris Schrimpf.

Other potential Republican candidates, including Jordan and state Rep. Mike Duffey, didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

The 12th District, which curves down from Mansfield to the northern suburbs of Columbus, then east to the Zanesville area, has been reliably Republican: Tiberi handily won re-election last year with 66 percent of the vote, and no Democrat has held the seat since Kasich upset Bob Shamansky 35 years ago.

But some pundits wonder if Democrats have a chance to be competitive in the special election to replace Tiberi, pointing to Jon Ossoff’s near-victory in a special election earlier this year for a GOP-held congressional seat in suburban Atlanta. Trump won Ohio’s 12th District last year with 53 percent of the vote, but the district didn’t swing right for him the way many other GOP-held districts in Ohio did compared to 2012.

So far, there’s been little sign of an Ossoff-style emergence from the three Democrats who have filed to run for Tiberi’s seat next year: Licking County businessman Ed Albertson, who lost to Tiberi last year; John Peters, a special education teacher in Newark; and Doug Wilson, a health-care professional from Mansfield.

Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor didn’t rule out the possibility of launching a campaign during an interview Thursday. “I haven’t had the time to think about it, honestly,” he said.

One potential Democratic candidate has already waved off a run: Newark City Councilman Jeremy Blake, who said Thursday he will run instead for the Ohio House in 2018 against Republican state Rep. Scott Ryan.

By Jeremy Pelzer

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:38 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:32 PM

            Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system
Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Ohio is rolling out the next generation of a powerful prescription drug monitoring system to help fight the opiate addiction crisis, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced.

Started in 2006, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System tracks controlled substances prescribed by doctors, provided by pharmacies and taken by patients. The upgraded version will calculate a patient’s risk for addiction or overdose, provide red flag alerts on potential safety issues, offer real time messaging between health care providers, and include a search tool for drug treatment programs.

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Health care providers will be able to access the new, upgraded OARRS system via electronic medical records and the OARRS website starting Nov. 20.

The system is designed to track prescriptions of controlled substances, such as painkillers, and prevent the practices of over-prescribing and “doctor shopping” — where addicts fill opioid prescriptions from several doctors at multiple pharmacies.

In 2006, the top doctor shopper in Ohio received prescriptions from 105 different doctors and filled those at 50 different pharmacies. In 2016, the top doctor shopper received prescriptions from 45 different doctors and filled those at 19 different pharmacies. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy agents investigate such patterns.

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Likewise, doctors and pharmacies are required to check OARRS before writing or filling certain prescriptions. Physicians and dentists who write controlled substance prescriptions without checking the system are contacted by the Board of Pharmacy.

Beginning at the end of December, doctors will be required to add diagnosis information to OARRS so regulators have a better idea about why patients are being prescribed powerful pain killers.