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

Democrat Kucinich picks running mate in Ohio governor’s race

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:04 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:04 PM

Dennis Kucinich, the newest candidate to announce a bid for Ohio governor, said Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples would run with him as he seeks the Democratic nomination. PROVIDED
Dennis Kucinich, the newest candidate to announce a bid for Ohio governor, said Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples would run with him as he seeks the Democratic nomination. PROVIDED

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Friday chose Akron City Councilwoman Tara Samples as his running mate in his bid for Ohio governor.

Samples fills out the field of lieutenant governor candidates in the 2018 race to replace Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is term limited.

Kucinich, 71, on Wednesday announced his decision to run in the Democratic primary.

RELATED: Kucinich launches governor bid

Samples was elected to council in 2013, works as is a paralegal and is a former court bailiff and U.S. Postal Service employee, according to the Associated Press. Speaking at his news conference in Akron, Kucinich said Samples is a highly regarded community leader, volunteer and political activist and he called it the honor of his life to stand beside her, according to AP.

Kucinich and Samples join a crowded field of Democrats in the May 8 primary. They are Richard Cordray, former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with his running mate, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron; former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati and her running mate, Marion Mayor Scott Shertzer; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, and his running mate Ohio Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd; and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, whose running mate is Chantelle E. Lewis, a Lorain elementary school principal.

Kucinich says state must stop giving tax breaks to wealthy

Candidates on the Republican side are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and running mate, Nathan Estruth , a Cincinnati businessman.

The filing deadline for the race is Feb. 7.

OTHER STORIES BY LYNN HULSEY

Lawmaker Jeff Rezabek won’t run for re-election to Ohio House

Losers appeal Ohio medical pot licensing decisions

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:52 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:52 PM

What to know about the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio

State officials are scrambling to hold more than 60 appeal hearings for companies that did not win medical marijuana cultivator licenses in Ohio.

So far, 68 of the 161 rejected applicants have filed for a “119 hearing,” in which a hearing officer listens to the state and the business present their cases on why the licensing decision should stand or be reversed. The window is still open for more rejected companies to request hearings.

“We are just in the process of getting them all scheduled,” said Ohio Department of Commerce spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski. She added that the hearing she attended lasted two hours and the applicant was a no-show.

Late last year, the state awarded 24 cultivator licenses — a dozen small scale and a dozen large scale.

After the hearing, administrative hearing officers give their recommendation on what should happen. If the applicants don’t like the outcome, their next legal remedy is to file a lawsuit against the state.

Related: Controversy, legal threats mar medical pot launch

Ohio voters in November 2015 rejected a ballot issue to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. State lawmakers, though, adopted a law making medical marijuana legal in 2016. Regulators spent 2016 and 2017 establishing rules and reviewing applications from those who want licenses to grow, process, test and dispense medical marijuana.

Not everyone is happy with the process, particularly some who failed to win cultivator licenses.

Related: State auditor: Drug dealer scored applications for Ohio pot sites

Related: Should Ohio legalize recreational marijuana? Voters may decide in 2018

The Ohio Department of Commerce vigorously defended the process used to pick winners and losers, saying applicants had to clear the initial requirements in five areas before moving on to the second level of scoring.

Identifying information was removed so scorers didn’t know the players behind each proposal, according to the department. And no one scorer passed judgment on all segments of an application.

Kucinich enters governor’s race with call to “reclaim” the state and bring back Democrats who voted for Trump

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:36 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:36 PM

Kucinich says state must stop giving tax breaks to wealthy

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich told local Democrats that it is time to reclaim Ohio and start spending state resources on things that help everyone rather than tax cuts for the wealthy.

“I’m in the position to get in the game and say, ‘Look, this changes. We have to be fair to all Ohioans,’” said Kucinich, speaking to the South Dayton Democratic Club on Wednesday after announcing he is running for governor in the Democratic primary.

“We can’t meet our health care needs, our education needs, we cannot rebuild this state if all we’re doing is taking resources of the state and giving it to a select few that already is very wealthy.”

Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland, announced he would join the already-crowded Democratic field during a Wednesday rally at Middleburg Heights in Cuyahoga County.

He pledged to focus on fighting poverty and violence and to promote economic opportunity the arts and education, according to the Associated Press.

Later he traveled to Columbus and then spoke to the South Dayton Democratic Club at the West Carrollton branch of the Dayton Metro Library. 

Kucinich outlined his plans to raise the minimum wage, improve infrastructure and establish a non-profit broadband internet public utility.

“I could win this election. I may be the only Democrat who can win because I have the ability to reach out, because I don’t polarize. Because I know the aspirations of people without regard to party,” Kucinich said during an interview after he spoke to Democrats at the West Carrollton branch of the Dayton Metro Library.

Kucinich, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and 2008, believes he can bring Democrats who voted for President Donald Trump back to the fold.

Kucinich says he can win race for governor

RELATED: Ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich to launch bid for governor

“When I look at my own congressional district the Democrats who went for Trump were concerned about trade, were concerned about war, were concerned about corruption in the government and the Democratic Party lost them. I can reach back to them and bring them back,” Kucinich said.

Democratic candidate Connie Pillich welcomes Kucinich to the race, said Eric Goldman, campaign manager for Pillich, a former state representative from Cincinnati.

“With that said, there is nothing in Kucinich's record that would demonstrate an appeal to Trump voters, swing voters, or disaffected Republicans,” Goldman said. “The Connie Pillich-Scott Schertzer team is the only Democratic ticket in this primary that has a history of appealing to voters from across the aisle and a track record of winning tough campaigns.”

Kucinich, 71, lost his congressional seat in 2012 to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, after the Republican redistricting of 2011 put the two Democrats in the same district. He enters the governor’s race relatively late but has been traveling the state over the last year denouncing public funding for charter schools and in support of state Issue 2, the prescription drug ballot issue that failed in November.

RELATED: Kucinich goes after charter schools in Dayton area visit

With the Feb. 7 filing deadline for the May 8 primary approaching, the Democratic and Republican fields are solidifying.

Last week Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley withdrew from the Democratic primary and threw her support behind Richard Cordray, former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a former Ohio treasurer and attorney general. Cordray’s running mate is former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron.

Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton

RELATED: Dayton Mayor Whaley drops out of governor’s race

Also in the race are Pillich of  Cincinnati, and her running mate and Marion mayor, Schertzer; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, who is running with Ohio Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd; and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, whose running mate is Chantelle E. Lewis, a Lorain elementary school principal.

RELATED: O’Neill’s boast of sexual liaisons brings calls for his resignation

Mike DeWine and Jon Husted

The ballot is less crowded on the Republican side where Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate, Secretary of State Jon Husted, are opposed by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and running mate Nathan Estruth, a Cincinnati businessman.

“We welcome Mr. Kucinich to the race. Our campaign looks forward to taking on whichever Democrat emerges from their crowded primary,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, campaign spokesperson for DeWine/Husted. “Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have the vision and plan to lead Ohio boldly into the future bringing more high-paying jobs, solving the opioid crisis and securing economic prosperity for all of Ohio.”

See more stories by Lynn Hulsey

U.S. Senate candidates Renacci and Brown spar over Trump’s comment about immigrants

Ohio Republican Senate race battle of multimillionaires

Ohio could have two redistricting proposals on ballots this year 

LGBT bill picks up support in Ohio

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 4:05 PM


            State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, says advocates for gay rights have pushed bills for nearly a decade to protect LGBT Ohioans against discrimination in housing and jobs. She thinks a bill this session may stand a chance. LAURA A. BISCHOFF/PHOTO
            Laura A. Bischoff
State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, says advocates for gay rights have pushed bills for nearly a decade to protect LGBT Ohioans against discrimination in housing and jobs. She thinks a bill this session may stand a chance. LAURA A. BISCHOFF/PHOTO(Laura A. Bischoff)

For nearly 10 years, advocates for gay rights have pushed for legal changes that would protect LGBT Ohioans from discrimination in housing, jobs and places of public accommodation, but in each legislative session the efforts have stalled.

State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, said this time around, though, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is backing the bill, giving her hope that it’s an idea whose time has come.

“Ohio should join the 21st century. It’s time, more than time — and protect all of her people, including those from the LBGT community. Passing House Bill 160 would be a great step forward. It would be good for business, Ohio’s economy and also, it’s the right thing to do,” said Antonio.

Related: Kasich to GOP: Get out of the 1980’s

She noted that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and businesses have pledged to testify in favor of the bill later this month.

The push for House Bill 160 comes at the same time the Human Rights Campaign released a state-by-state report on laws and policies that affect individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Sarah Warbelow, legal director for HRC, said the report grades states on what basic protections it provides residents and visitors when it comes to employment, housing, hate crimes, services to youths in foster care, bans on conversion therapy and other issues.

Ohio is among 28 states lacking non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in housing, employment and places of public accommodation, the report says. House Bill 160 would change the Ohio Civil Rights Law to add these protections and preserve all religious exemptions in current law, Antonio said.

Related: Does Ohio need a law protecting religious freedom?

The bill is backed by Ohio Business Competes, a coalition of some 300 businesses that support the changes.

While some employers and local communities have non-discrimination policies, Antonio said it’s time for a statewide law.

“Your ZIP Code should not determine whether you have equal rights and protections,” she said. “We should live in a state where someone can work in one community but decide to buy a home in another community and not look into their policies to find out whether or not their family will be welcome there. Come on, we can do better.”