Statehouse reporter Laura Hancock explored in depth the question of what Ohio might look like when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe's long-standing ruling against Wade, which legalized abortion, and examined its political and pragmatic consequences ,
cleveland.com podcast This week at CLE, Laura's editor Jane Kahoun and her colleagues talk about what Laura found. It is a revealing and somewhat frightening picture of what could lie ahead, especially if the heads of state are not preparing for the consequences.
You can download the MP3 here to listen to the abortion discussion at 1
Or you can read a transcript below.
Chris Quinn: Jane, one of the reporters with whom you collaborate, Laura Hancock, provides a detailed overview of what the Ohio countryside might look like when the US Supreme Court ruled against Roe Wade falls for abortion. The piece had all kinds of facets. Let's start with the structural side first. Laura predicted that abortionists would immediately impose a constitutional abortion ban on the Ohio ballot. Is there any indication that this could happen?
Jane Kahoun: Well, I've recently seen a national poll, a Quinnipiac poll, in which more Americans advocate access to legal means for abortion than those who oppose it. I do not know the answer to this question. Ohio, it's Ohio, it's different. But yes, that would be if the Supreme Court leaves it to the States, they would request a constitutional amendment. There are other scenarios possible. The court could make a mass reversal of Roe v. Wade, or it may refuse to reverse it.
Chris: Well, there is a possibility that you would see the opposite, these people who believe in the right to abortion would seek a constitutional amendment anchoring the following:
Jane: I have not heard of that yet. That is very interesting. Maybe they will [crosstalk 00:01:16].
Chris: Because there is strong emotion on both sides. She also looked at what would happen to women looking for abortions and predicted that the picture would look very different depending on income. What about that?
Jane: Because affluent women find a way to get an abortion, whether they travel to another state or find someone to tacitly care for them, while poor women do not. I will have such options not have. So many could turn to try to bring about their own abortions.
Mary Kilpatrick: The doctors I talked about and I can not say enough how dangerous that would be when women find themselves in a position where they feel they must have their own abortion. These are very, very dangerous situations that can endanger the woman. I talked about the climate in the 1960s and learned from a lawyer that in Cincinnati, a hospital in Cincinnati, a whole section was set up for women who had botched abortions.
Chris: Impressive. That is shocking. Ohio is a big state and we are limited by a number of states. Which states on our borders do we think offer the best opportunities for women in different parts of Ohio? Pennsylvania seems likely?
Jane: New York, though technically not on our border, but it's not far to the New York Border.
Chris: What about the west side?
Jane Kahoun: Maybe Michigan? I do not know.
Chris: Maybe Michigan.
Mary: Well, I mean, even today, for women who do not mind I do not live near an abortion clinic, most women in Ohio. I think there are seven abortion clinics in the state. Most of them are in urban areas. You have to visit the abortion clinic twice. You must first seek advice, then you have to arrange another appointment for the actual abortion. Even today, as low-income women have access to abortions, they are free from work for several days. If you live far away, you need to find a way to get into a big city where you can live an abortion. Even if you look at the landscape today, it is difficult for low-income women living in urban areas to get an abortion in Ohio.
Chris: Well, let me ask you this. We have been dealing with high infant mortality nationwide and especially in Cleveland. If there is a conviction that lower-income women are more difficult to give birth to, it will be more difficult to get abortions and we will have much more births, especially in this population. What will this mean for Ohio's resources in dealing with all those children we donate? Do not you have all these special needs right now?
Jane: Well, people with the right to life say that there are many people waiting to adopt children. And these children could be accommodated. They also say they are working to ensure that social services are there. There are these Crisis Pregnancy Centers that …
Chris: Hold on, wait a minute. How many abortions were there in Ohio last year? Was it 28,000 or something? It was a huge number. You say there are 28,000 potential adoptive parents for …?
Jane: I think that's all open to debate. It's not a decision …
Mary: Another remark is that not all women have an abortion because they do not want a child. There are women out there who have an abortion in the late stages of pregnancy because of a genetic abnormality or because pregnancy is dangerous for them. Just because there were x8 abortions in Ohio in 2018 does not mean that there were the same number of births.
Chris: The other question is: would prosecutors in the urban areas, where you have a larger percentage of people who support abortion rights, be prosecuted if doctors did so? And it's hard to know because I do not think they're going to do it, but it's an interesting question across the country and in Ohio who would prosecute these cases.