The following article originally appeared on News5Cleveland.com and is published in The Ohio Capital Journal under a content sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets because it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
Pro-reproductive doctors are using a recent Ohio law to make abortion easier for patients.
Ohio shares an agreement that any physician licensed in 35 other states can provide care to state patients. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLCC), which the state officially signed on to in the summer of 2021, streamlines the licensing process for doctors who want to practice in multiple states.
“It makes it easier for the provider to get a license in another state and go out there and provide those services in that state,” said health care attorney Bethany Corbin.
With Ohio’s recently implemented six-week abortion ban and even more restrictions on the horizon, Corbin said the medical pact was being valued as a tool for abortion seekers. But just like most doctor visits, an established relationship and your location are required to obtain medication.
“That licensed provider in that jurisdiction can provide care to that patient who is temporarily in that jurisdiction,” she added. “What really matters is the patient’s actual physical location at the time care is provided.”
Ohio has made national news again after a 10-year-old rape victim, six weeks and three days pregnant, was forced to travel to Indiana for an abortion, according to the Columbus Dispatch. .
For an Ohioan who just passed the six-week deadline, like this child, he can travel to get an abortion pill in person or via telemedicine.
“Some states don’t actually allow teleprescribing of the abortion pill,” she said. “This might even be true in states that have not banned abortion, but may instead require an in-person visit rather than a telemedicine visit.”
Nearly 20 states do not allow teleprescription of abortion pills, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That number may change, according to NPR.
A patient from Ohio would still need to travel to another state, such as Illinois, to be prescribed the pill. This type of self-managed medical abortion has a two-pill process.
The abortion pill is an FDA-approved method that is safe and effective for early miscarriages up to 10 weeks pregnant, according to the FDA. There are two steps in the process. First, the person seeking an abortion would take mifepristone. This drug prevents pregnancy from developing, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The next drug is misoprostol, which will expel the embryo.
The majority of abortions are performed with medication during the first 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute research group. About 90% of all abortions occur in the first trimester, ending the age-old argument that people have abortions at 9 months, the non-governmental organization said. The remainder usually occurs at the start of the second trimester, around 13 to 15 weeks.
“The individual should stay in Illinois and take both pills there because if she went back to Ohio, she would actually be committing the abortion in Ohio,” Corbin added.
That doesn’t mean an Ohioan can just call a pact doctor and get the pill — but the attorney said it would make it easier to get care, once you have transportation to travel.
This does not mean that traveling for an abortion is easy, accessible or even available. The pact just makes the process a little easier for patients and providers, according to the attorney.
For example, a doctor in Cleveland could also be licensed or apply through the expedited process in Illinois through the covenant. This doctor can relocate to an abortion-friendly state and still care for his Ohio-based clients through telehealth. Since the doctor already knows his patient, the process of getting the pills could be much more efficient.
The state currently does not have a travel ban on abortions, but some Republican lawmakers have considered the idea. Cincinnati-area Rep. Jean Schmidt told a conservative radio show that companies paying for out-of-state trips could be seen as “promoting abortion.”
“What we’re also starting to see are providers who might be in more abortion-restrictive states, in fact, moving around and trying to start helping and getting into those clinics where they might be s expect a large influx of people from states where abortion is banned,” Corbin said. “I’ve also started to see some of these trends among vendors who really want to help.”
The pact states that each state has the right to decide what happens within its borders, but people leaving the state must see a doctor who is part of the pact, but who is also licensed and located. in the visiting state.
Follow WEWS State House Reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.
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