Returning from summer break, the Ohio legislature could review two GOP-led pieces of legislation that would place health mandates on patients considering abortions.
One of the bills, recently introduced by state Rep. Jennifer Gross, would require physicians to dictate the results of a mandated ultrasound and also provide information about a link between breast cancer that has been disproven by multiple medical organizations.
Gross, usually known for and outspoken in her disapproval of health care mandates, introduced the bill this week.
Patients already have to meet with a physician 24 hours before an abortion, but under this bill, along with hearing about the medical risks of the procedure and the probably gestational age, a patient would be told “the possible increased risk of breast cancer that is associated with women who have undergone an abortion,” along with the “short-term and long-term risk of psychological or emotional harm” from choosing to have an abortion.
Multiple organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the American College of Gynecologists and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation have denied the link, citing research studies on the relationship between breast cancer and abortion.
The American Cancer Society said these research studies “have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.”
The Gross bill has not been assigned to a committee for consideration, but it has several sponsors, all Republican.
Meanwhile, a separate bill seeking to notify abortion patients of possible risks was introduced during the legislature’s summer break, and has been assigned to the House Health Committee.
House Bill 378 was introduced in July by state Reps. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, and Sarah Fowler Arthur, R-Ashtabula, and specifically targets medication abortion, which is done through a two-pill regimen, rather than surgery.
The bill would require medical professionals to explain a controversial and medically unproven method of “reversing” the abortion by not taking the second of the two-pill regimen and giving additional progesterone to counteract the first pill.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said claims about the “reversal” method “are not based in science and do not meet clinical standards.”
The bill is a reintroduction of a similar one that passed the Senate in 2019, but didn’t make it through the House.
Abortion is legal in the state of Ohio up to 20 weeks gestation.
Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.