Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Contact: Aileen Day [email protected]
Politicians Seek to Eliminate Telemedicine Care That is Currently Serving Ohioans
Columbus, Ohio – Tomorrow, members of the Ohio Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Medicaid will have the third hearing on Senate Bill 260, which was originally introduced on January 21, 2020. This bill would ban abortions performed with the use of telemedicine, and would cut off access to safe, legal abortion for patients who currently have difficulty accessing a health care provider, especially for these services. Ohioans deserve more from their legislators than limiting patients’ healthcare options with another abortion ban.
For nearly two years, Planned Parenthood in Ohio has used telemedicine to provide medication abortions safely. Telemedicine expands access for patients located far away from health care providers. The capability of telemedicine to increase access to health care for patients living in remote communities is essential because of the significant health disparities that exist between patients living in rural and urban communities. As the number of abortion restrictions are rising, so are the number of communities who are considered rural and far from abortion providers.
Telemedicine abortions follow strict Ohio law. The patient travels to one of our surgical health centers to meet with a physician and receive education, an ultrasound, and lab work. The second appointment occurs at a health center that might be closer to their home, where they video conference with a physician to answer any additional questions and to take the medication abortion pill. This reduces the time and price burden of travel to better serve our patients while continuing to provide the highest quality and safest care available.
Statement from Kersha Deibel, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio:
“Here at Planned Parenthood, patient safety is always our top priority. We agree that people seeking medical care should be safe; this bill has absolutely nothing to do with patient safety. This is part of an aggressive anti-abortion agenda pushed by politicians here in Ohio and across the country to do one thing – ban abortion outright. We will not stand for it.”
Statement from Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio:
“Senate Bill 260 creates another barrier for people who are already struggling to access health care, including safe, legal abortion. The use of telemedicine in abortion care provides Ohio patients, especially those who live in medically underserved areas, with increased access to health care and attendance by specialized physicians who are held to the same standards of care as providers employing traditional in-clinic medical care. Ohio legislators need to stop removing health care from its citizens and instead focus on expanding access to reproductive health care.”
Bans on the use of telemedicine for medication abortion are not based in concern for patient safety, but an intent to eliminate access to safe, legal abortion and have already been blocked by courts in other states. The Iowa Supreme Court declared a ban on telemedicine abortions to be unconstitutional in 2015, citing the lack of medical support for prohibiting it, and noting that the Iowa Board of Medicine’s medical concerns about telemedicine “are selectively limited to abortion.”
Studies have shown that eight in ten Americans agree that abortion should be safe, legal, and accessible. This bill favors an ideologically-driven agenda over the desires, well-being, and lives of Ohioans. Ohioans should be able to access safe, high-quality health care, no matter where they live. Ohio legislators should not be in the business of taking away health care from its citizens, and instead should focus on expanding access to reproductive health care.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio supports advocacy for reproductive health and reproductive rights, including grassroots organizing, community education, and lobbying. www.ppao.org