A pregnant Ohio woman’s cancer diagnosis underscores the horrors of life after Roe

A pregnant Ohio woman’s cancer diagnosis underscores the horrors of life after Roe

With the U.S. Supreme Court having overturned Roe v. Wade after 49 years, abortion laws will vary from state to state — and an Ohio resident’s struggle with pregnancy and cancer offers a disturbing glimpse into the type of health care nightmares that lie ahead now that abortion is no longer a nationally protected right.

The woman, according to Dayton Daily News reporters Josh Sweigart and London Bishop, is pregnant and has been diagnosed with cancer. In order to begin chemotherapy, she will have to terminate her pregnancy first — only she will have to travel to Indiana to do that.

A representative for Dayton Women’s Med Center, interviewed on condition of anonymity, told the Dayton Daily News, “Today, we saw a patient in Dayton who has cancer. Her doctors told her she would have to terminate before she received chemotherapy treatment. She will have to travel to Indiana. A mom brought her daughter in and doesn’t own a car. She will have to rent one to get her daughter to her appointment in Indianapolis later this week.”

Abortion, post-Roe, is still technically legal in Ohio, but the Buckeye State now has a very restrictive “heartbeat law” that criminalizes doctors if they perform an abortion after about six weeks into a pregnancy. The law makes no exception for rape.

Sweigart and Bishop explain, “Women’s Med can still screen patients at its Dayton office and then refer them to the Women’s Med facility in Indianapolis for surgery as long as they are less than 13.6 weeks pregnant. Ohio patients can’t be given medication abortion in Indiana, only surgical termination, according to the clinic. Patients more than 13.6 weeks are being referred to providers in Pittsburgh, Michigan and Illinois.”

The state-to-state complications that Women’s Med is dealing with will only grow more complicated in the months to come. Indiana, a red state, is likely to ban abortion altogether; Michigan has a restrictive anti-abortion law from 1931 that was invalidated by Roe v. Wade in 1973 — and now that Roe has been overturned, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is fighting to keep that law from inflicting misery on women in Michigan.

Abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania, but that could change if Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano — a far-right conspiracy theorist and QAnon sympathizer — defeats his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in November. Shapiro is campaigning on abortion rights, slamming Mastriano for opposing abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Ohio’s conservative Republican governor, Mike DeWine, is adamantly anti-abortion. However, far-right MAGA extremists often lambast him for not being right-wing enough and consider him a RINO: Republican In Name Only.

The Women’s Med representative interviewed by the Dayton Daily News explained, “We hear many providers are already fully booked for three or four weeks. That means someone who is 19 weeks in her pregnancy will not be able to get an abortion at all, even if she is carrying a dead fetus, even if she needs to terminate in order to get chemotherapy, even if she was raped.”

You can read some reactions to the Dayton Daily News' reporting below or at this link.

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