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From Dayton Daily News

New Abortion Laws May Be on Horizon

Eight proposals, including a total ban, have been offered for debate by Ohio legislators.

By Laura A. Bischoff

Staff Writer

COLUMBUS | — In Ohio, the debate over abortion — which never quite cools — is heating up again.

With two new faces on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents anticipate their best opportunity in years to overturn the 33-year-old Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

And the governor's seat is open.

Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell opposes abortion in all instances, including if the life of the mother is in danger.

Democrat Ted Strickland, who voted in Congress for a ban on so-called partial-birth abortions, has pledged to veto bills that further restrict access to abortion.

This month, more than 200 people jammed a Statehouse hearing for a bill by Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, to ban all abortions in Ohio. It's not slated for quick action, but supporters hope it might eventually become the test of Roe v. Wade.

It also is just one of eight bills in the Ohio legislature dealing with abortion and contraception issues, offered from both sides of the debate.

They range from additional limits on abortion to one, sponsored by Democrats and backed by abortion-rights groups, increasing sex education requirements and access to birth control.

In Ohio, an average of 35,700 abortions were performed annually from 2001 to 2004, according to the state health department, which has been keeping abortion statistics since 1976.

Abortions in Ohio peaked in 1982 at about 46,000. From 1994 to 2004, the average was about 36,800, with the numbers trending down in recent years. There were 34,242 in 2004.

Both sides say they want the numbers to come down — anti-abortion groups through restrictions, abortion rights groups through sex education and birth control.

Ohio 2004 abortion statistics

82 percent of the women were unmarried.

64 percent had no more than a high school education.

52.4 percent were younger than 25.

58.3 percent were white, 35.1 percent black, 3.5 percent Hispanic.

96.5 percent were performed in Ohio's six largest counties, including 7.8 percent, or 2,688, in Montgomery County.

Source: Ohio Department of Health


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