Ohio will have only eight abortion clinics after the closing of Founder’s Women’s Health Center in Columbus. The clinic is set to close this month, upon delivering final care to its existing patients.

The owners of Founder’s Women’s Health Center say the clinic’s closure is due to their retirement. They declined to make a statement to the media, but Gabriel Mann, communications manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, stated that the closure is “not related to any state actions, legislative or administrative.”

Ohio has seen multiple hostile attempts to restrict abortion over the years. In 2011, it was the first state in the nation to introduce the strict “heartbeat” bill, which bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. In many cases, this is before a person even knows their pregnant. The ban would have taken effect when it was signed into law in 2019 but was blocked by a federal judge. In this year alone, Ohio has attempted to both ban telemedicine abortions and classify abortion as a nonessential surgery during a global pandemic.

Current laws in Ohio require that patients undergo a counseling session before receiving the procedure. This session uses biased, state-mandated materials that are meant to discourage the patient from having an abortion. The provider must also perform an ultrasound test to detect a fetal heartbeat, although there is no medical reason to do so.

Of the eight clinics that will remain in Ohio, six are surgical centers, while only two provide medication abortion services. Founder’s provided only medication abortions, after switching from surgical abortions in 2018. Columbus, a city with a population of nearly 900,000, is now left with only two abortion clinics.

Sources: Cleveland.com 7/6/20; NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio; NBC News 7/3/19

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