Ohio’s abortion ban has already left a trail of misery in its wake. (Getty)
Two children recently fled Ohio to seek abortions after being raped, according to affidavits filed in a lawsuit seeking to end Ohio’s six-week abortion ban.
Abortion providers in Ohio sued the state earlier this month over its six-week abortion ban, which went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. Last week, a local court agreed to temporarily suspend Ohio’s six-week abortion ban. But according to the affidavits, obtained by VICE News and sworn under oath by their signers, Ohio’s abortion ban has already left a trail of misery in its wake.
In addition to the two raped children, two women, including a 25-year-old mother, were unable to obtain treatment for their cancer while pregnant, according to affidavits. At least three have threatened to commit suicide if they cannot have an abortion. Another said she would drink bleach if she couldn’t terminate her pregnancy.
Two women had pregnancies with fetal abnormalities so severe that neither baby could survive.
The pregnancies of three patients made them vomit so much that it was almost impossible for them to live their lives. One was a high school student who couldn’t attend class because she was vomiting so much, an obstetrician-gynecologist said in an affidavit. She ended up in the hospital on suicide watch.
“What do you want me to do…throw me down the stairs?” a patient asked a staff member at the abortion clinic, an OB-GYN said in an affidavit.
“Many patients tell me that they have no choice but to continue with their pregnancies,” Allegra Pierce, a medical assistant at an abortion clinic, said in an affidavit. “They fear losing their jobs, struggling to support their family or the children they already have if they have another child, or suffering damage to their physical or mental health if they have to stay. pregnant, but see no other option.”
Most patients told Pierce they couldn’t handle all the hurdles of crossing state lines for an abortion, according to Pierce’s affidavit. They have to juggle the costs of travel, childcare, time off from work, and finding a clinic that can perform the procedure quickly. It’s too much, say the patients.
The two raped children eventually obtained abortions in Michigan and Indiana, according to the affidavits. The child who traveled to Michigan had to wait more than three weeks for an abortion appointment, Dr. Adarsh Krishen, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, said in an affidavit.
“At every step of this process, she felt the complete denial of bodily autonomy and safety, something that everyone, especially children, should unequivocally have at all times,” Krishen said.
In the other case, where a 16-year-old was sexually assaulted by a family member, law enforcement had to travel to Indianapolis to retrieve tissue to test for the sexual assault case of the child, Aeran Trick, director of a Dayton abortion clinic, said in an affidavit.
“I fear that the Ohio ban and the need to travel ever-increasing distances to obtain abortion care will not only cause unimaginable harm to these young victims, but may also impede the ability of forces order to investigate and prosecute these cases in the future,” Trick said.
The raped minors described in the affidavits aren’t the only ones who fled Ohio to seek abortions. Days after Roe was knocked down, 10-year-old Ohioan man raped made national headlines when she had to travel to Indiana to terminate her pregnancy.
One of the patients who couldn’t stop vomiting was a 16-year-old who had lost 20 pounds, Trick said. The girl’s mother took her to Indianapolis for an abortion, but had to rent a car due to car trouble. They had to make multiple trips to the abortion clinic there, thanks to Indiana abortion restrictions.
Another patient was vomiting so much that she had to lie on the clinic floor and vomit into a bucket. This woman feared losing her job as a store manager because she had to take time off to try to get an abortion and because of what Trick called “repeated absences due to her being hospitalized for her condition.”
The woman eventually got an abortion in Indianapolis, but had to take her four children and mother with her, Trick said.
Trick was also among staff members who met a cancer patient who wanted an abortion, according to Trick. The woman, a 37-year-old with stage three melanoma, was unable to seek treatment during her pregnancy.
“Upon learning that she would need to travel out of state for an abortion, the patient broke down and cried inconsolably despite attempts by several staff members, including myself, to comfort her” , said Trick.
In another affidavit, Dr. David Burkons detailed how a woman found out she was just days too late to get an abortion in Ohio. When the woman told her boyfriend, who was waiting outside the clinic, “he then kicked her out of the car and drove off, leaving the woman in hysterics because she already had two children and didn’t know what to do,” Burkons said.
Two women had ectopic pregnancies, a life-threatening condition that makes a pregnancy impossible to continue, but said ER doctors were too scared of the ban on treating them, Burkons said. A woman ended up having her fallopian tubes ruptured.
Ohio’s abortion ban doesn’t even apply to ectopic pregnancies, but, Burkons said, “I’m concerned that the law’s harsh criminal penalties will deter some physicians from even providing legal care. which are medically necessary”.
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