Planned Parenthood sues over Ohio telemedicine abortion ban

With the law set to take effect April 12, the organization asked for immediate relief from the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in a lawsuit filed late Thursday against the Ohio Department of Health, the state Medical Board and prosecutors in the state’s three largest counties.

Posted: Apr 2, 2021 4:30 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Planned Parenthood has sued to block an Ohio law banning the use of telemedicine for medication abortions as unconstitutional, adding to a lengthening list of attempted restrictions on the procedure that are now tied up in court.

With the law set to take effect April 12, the organization asked for immediate relief from the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in a lawsuit filed late Thursday against the Ohio Department of Health, the state Medical Board and prosecutors in the state’s three largest counties.

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The lawsuit marks the latest in a string of court challenges to additional abortion restrictions attempted by the Republicans who lead both chambers of the state Legislature.

Courts have blocked bans on dilation and evacuation, or D&E abortions; on abortions in cases where a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis is a factor; and on all abortions after detection of the first fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy before many women know they are pregnant.

A group of clinics and the ACLU of Ohio asked a judge March 9 to block a law that would require that fetal remains from surgical abortions be cremated or buried, arguing a lack of rules makes complying “impossible.” That law is set to take effect Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the telemedicine abortion ban in January. It would prohibit administration of mifepristone to medically induce an abortion via a telehealth appointment. Doctors who violated the law would face a fourth-degree felony charge on the first offense and a third-degree felony charge for subsequent violations.

Iris Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said medication abortion is safe and effective and should be available remotely to Ohio women.

“Ohio is one of the most medically underserved states in the country, a problem particularly felt by Black communities, people of color, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in our state,” Harvey said in a statement. “Telemedicine is a key tool to address those disparities. When the Ohio Legislature and Governor DeWine enacted this unjust law, their intentions were clear — telemedicine is great, unless it is used in health care they don’t agree with.”

The use of telemedicine rose steeply when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, telehealth visits increased 154% during the last week of March 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.

Supporters of the law argued that it is important for a doctor to be physically present when women take mifepristone for a chemical abortion to assure safety and to answer questions.

Opponents contended that women seeking abortions are already required to visit a clinic for counseling and for an ultrasound a day ahead of the procedure under current Ohio law.

They said taking the abortion medication from home on the second day, while connected online with the clinician, is safe and permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1084488

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1425562217
Lake705171220
Allen64347862
Hamilton49481481
St. Joseph48135639
Elkhart39011536
Vanderburgh33874494
Tippecanoe29863271
Johnson26876463
Hendricks25548379
Porter24683380
Madison20440444
Clark19785275
Vigo18609308
LaPorte16638260
Monroe16237217
Delaware16230286
Howard16181310
Kosciusko13763162
Hancock12644184
Bartholomew12544188
Warrick11889189
Wayne11794264
Floyd11792225
Grant11484233
Morgan10134188
Boone9576120
Noble8921121
Henry8917163
Marshall8792146
Dearborn875798
Dubois8673138
Shelby7958127
Cass7907126
Lawrence7861182
DeKalb7416106
Jackson738093
Huntington7280107
Gibson6922118
Montgomery6830122
Harrison680696
Knox6779113
Steuben641185
Miami6384106
Whitley631160
Putnam626582
Clinton614176
Wabash5958108
Jasper591991
Jefferson5617102
Ripley540892
Adams527881
Daviess4964116
Scott475978
Wells462998
White459967
Greene458399
Clay452162
Decatur4491109
Jennings434666
Fayette429094
LaGrange413890
Posey398344
Washington380654
Randolph3770107
Fountain364962
Spencer353446
Fulton352270
Starke343672
Sullivan342454
Owen341676
Orange320270
Jay315450
Rush293332
Carroll287037
Franklin283544
Perry281453
Vermillion277557
Parke244930
Tipton244664
Pike241744
Blackford213944
Pulaski203158
Newton176552
Brown169850
Crawford167129
Benton160517
Martin149219
Switzerland143712
Warren131416
Union115416
Ohio90513
Unassigned0581

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1673496

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1757641826
Cuyahoga1629012636
Hamilton1118741528
Montgomery791421387
Summit697231199
Lucas615331017
Butler55597803
Stark521611170
Lorain40661639
Warren35239412
Mahoning34821769
Lake31171493
Clermont30541362
Delaware26553182
Trumbull26366611
Licking26095335
Medina25072351
Fairfield24063287
Greene23957369
Clark21542387
Portage20538280
Richland20465336
Wood19524246
Allen18427320
Miami16950348
Columbiana16385331
Muskingum16346206
Wayne15351304
Tuscarawas14018357
Marion12978194
Erie12350198
Ashtabula12171225
Scioto12166182
Pickaway12009151
Ross11417223
Hancock11151173
Geauga10572174
Lawrence10433171
Belmont10200231
Huron9545155
Jefferson9425225
Union933375
Sandusky8981166
Seneca8639156
Knox8591169
Washington8578156
Athens825096
Darke8215179
Ashland7777147
Auglaize7695115
Shelby7302132
Defiance7174114
Brown7015115
Crawford7010150
Fulton6953111
Logan6818108
Mercer679397
Guernsey677983
Highland6591117
Madison639289
Clinton6361106
Williams623498
Preble6153139
Putnam6054120
Jackson569496
Champaign564786
Perry557179
Coshocton5525103
Ottawa549599
Morrow504464
Fayette481270
Hardin475399
Gallia460278
Pike457876
Van Wert451591
Adams4495109
Henry422776
Hocking398093
Holmes3917137
Wyandot366673
Carroll348978
Paulding317449
Meigs300957
Monroe230860
Noble216147
Morgan208938
Harrison204052
Vinton182037
Unassigned05
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The chilly temperatures and clouds are sticking around Monday with a brief warm up midweek.
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