At least two more minors were forced to travel out of state to terminate pregnancies resulting from rape, according to medical personnel affidavits filed in a lawsuit against the Ohio attorney general.
The accounts, first reported by Ohio Capital-Journalarge, have emerged more than three months after the case of a 10-year-old Ohio sexual assault victim made national headlines when it was revealed she had to travel to Indiana to have an abortion. The Indianapolis Star reported that the girl was six weeks and three days pregnant and could not have an abortion because of the state’s heartbeat law, which prevents medical personnel from performing the procedure if a heartbeat is detected.
The law was signed into law in 2019 by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, but didn’t go into effect until the landmark Roe v Wade case was overturned in July by the Supreme Court. Now, medical officials have confirmed in court filings the Heartbeat Law’s devastating effects on women seeking abortions, especially on at least two more minors who were sexually assaulted and had to travel out of state to terminate their pregnancies.
Doctors also reported cases in which women who were denied abortions later attempted suicide. In some cases, cancer patients who refused treatment because of their pregnancy were also unable to obtain abortions, the affidavit said.
Although the Heartbeat Act allows health professionals to perform abortions in emergencies and when the mother’s life is in danger, the exceptions are not fully explained and could lead to criminal penalties and license revocation, often leaving the staff stuck in a dilemma.
The affidavits were filed in the ongoing case between Preterm-Cleveland Reproductive Health Clinic and the attorney general.
According to Ohio Capital-JournalAccording to the report, more than 600 abortion appointments had to be canceled after Roe v Wade was overturned.
“We had at least three patients who threatened to kill themselves. Another patient said she would attempt to terminate her pregnancy by drinking bleach,” Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio medical director Sharon Liner said in one of the affidavits. Ohio Capital-Journal mentionted.
“Another asked how much vitamin C she should take to terminate her pregnancy.”
In one of the cases, a minor traveled to Michigan to access abortion care, which “further aggravated [her trauma] she needed to wait over three weeks for her appointment.”
“At every step of this process, she felt completely denied the bodily autonomy and safety that all people, especially children, should unquestionably have at all times,” read the affidavit of Adarsh E Krishen, Chief of Planned Parenthood of Greater. Ohio, according to the Ohio Capital-Journal report.
An operations manager at a Dayton women’s health center also filed an affidavit stating that a 16-year-old girl had to travel to Indianapolis, Indiana, to have an abortion after she was raped by a family member.
“I am concerned that Ohio’s ban and the need to travel ever greater distances to obtain abortion care not only causes unimaginable harm to these young victims, but could also hinder law enforcement’s ability to investigate and to prosecute these cases in the future,” wrote Aeran Trick. in his affidavit.
The heartbeat law has been temporarily suspended for a second time by a county judge — this time the provision will last until mid-October and abortions before the 20th week of pregnancy will be allowed.