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Both sides agree Heartbeat Act helped reduce Ohio’s abortion numbers by 15% in 2022

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In approximately one month, Ohioans will determine the outcome of Issue 1, a ballot initiative that, if approved, would enshrine the right to abortion in the state’s constitution. To borrow from NRLC President Carol Tobias, for pro-lifers, it is imperative to engage in a concerted effort.

The “Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” is being proposed at a time when the number of abortions in Ohio has declined significantly, reversing a trend of increases observed in both 2020 and 2021. As Professor Michael New has written,

This week the Ohio Department of Health released updated abortion data for Ohio. Overall, the news is good for pro-lifers. In 2022, the number of abortions performed in Ohio fell by more than 15 percent. This data, along with data from Texas, demonstrates that pro-life Heartbeat Acts reduce abortion rate and save lives.

A significant contributing factor to the observed decline in the number of abortions is the enactment of the Heartbeat Act, which was in effect for a portion of 2022, from June 24 to September 14. SB 23 is designed to protect the lives of preborn children after six weeks of gestation. The newly available data from Ohio, in conjunction with the previously published data from Texas, provides compelling statistical evidence that heartbeat laws result in a reduction in the number of abortions performed and that they offer protection to the unborn child.

Additionally, other accounts have attributed credit to the Heartbeat Act. Madeline Ottilie posits that the decline in the number of abortions can be attributed to the implementation of Ohio’s “heartbeat law.”

“The decline in abortions among Ohio residents is clearly linked to the loss of access,” said University of Cincinnati sociology professor Dr. Danielle Bessett.

Dr. Bessett conducts abortion research with the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network (OPEN), which tracks abortion numbers month by month.

“Once we hit the heartbeat ban, we actually see a real significant drop,” she said.

In a similar vein, Susan Tebben, writing for the Ohio Capital Journal, reached a similar conclusion: “Ohio Abortion Report Shows Double-Digit Decrease.”

One can reasonably posit that the reduction in abortions would have been even more pronounced had Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins not placed a preliminary injunction on SB 23, which subsequently became an indefinite injunction.

In addition to replacing the term “fetus” with “baby,” the initiative’s original language stated that “in no case may such an abortion be prohibited if, in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient’s treating physician, it is necessary to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.” The revised text clarifies that the amendment would permit the termination of an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy, regardless of viability, if the treating physician determines that the abortion is necessary to protect the pregnant woman’s life or health. This interpretation was provided by Bridget Sielicki.

State Senator Theresa Gavarone observed that the revised language more accurately reflects the actual content of the amendment. “The Ohio Ballot Board’s objective today was to create ballot language that accurately reflects the proposed amendment as written,” Gavarone stated in a press release, further noting:

The language of the amendment is purposefully written very broadly. As such, the summary approved today accurately reflects the broad language of the amendment. I wish the language would have been more specific to the voters as to what this proposed amendment means and the disastrous consequences its passage will have on women and families.

That being said, I am thankful to have played a part in setting the record straight and am proud to deliver the truth to Ohioans about this dangerous proposal.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said the full text of the amendment will be available for public viewing. It will be published in newspapers and other publications.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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