Abortions in Ohio reach lowest level in 40 years, new study shows

(Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)Anti-abortion and pro-choice activists gather at the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington.

A report from the Ohio Department of Health has revealed that the number of abortions in the state has decreased in 2016, reaching its lowest number since 1976, when record-keeping first began.

The 2016 Ohio Abortion Report, which was released on Friday, showed that a total of 20,672 abortions were performed in Ohio last year, continuing a trend of steady decline since the late 1990s. The figure shows a one percent decline in the number of abortions from 2015 and 2016, according to Dayton Daily News.

The study also found that 55 percent of the abortions were performed in the first nine weeks of pregnancy, while 2.2 percent were conducted at 19 weeks or later. Sixty-one percent of the women who obtained abortions were in their 20s and 63 percent already had at least one child.

Ohio Right to Life has credited the decline in abortions to their efforts to shut down clinics in the state and its support for pro-life laws.

Since 2010, half of the state's abortion clinics have been shut down or closed voluntarily, and in the last seven years, 19 pro-life measures have been signed into law by Gov. John Kasich.

"This report is further proof of how successful the pro-life movement has been in Ohio," said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, according to Life News.

"This past year alone, we saw 304 lives saved from the pain and suffering of abortion. We continue to advance groundbreaking legislation to protect the unborn, and we thank Governor John Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly for their role in promoting a culture of life in Ohio. By enacting common sense and life-saving initiatives Ohio is protecting both mothers and their babies," he added.

In contrast, the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice credits the decline 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.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Deputy Director Jaime Miracle noted that the number of medically-induced abortions in the state increased by 300 percent.

"The real story with this year's report is that Ohio women are accessing more affordable medication ... at a rate closer to before Ohio law required physicians to use an outdated, less effective, more expensive protocol," Miracle said, as reported by US News.

Pro-choice groups have noted that the number of non-surgical abortions in Ohio increased from 1,195 in 2015 to 3,818 in 2016 because of a new protocol that allows for lower doses and costs in administering MifePristone, a drug used to induce abortion.

Other findings in the report revealed that 94.5 percent of the abortions were obtained by women residing in Ohio. A tenth of the women who acquired abortions were in their teens, while another third were between the ages of 20 and 24.

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