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Planned Parenthood of Ohio says it's still performing abortions, just not after 6 weeks of pregnancy

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There was some confusion in the days following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Supreme Court decision and the imposition of Ohio's 6-week abortion ban, suggesting that Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio had stopped performing abortions. The organization said that is not true.

Iris Harvey, the organization's President and CEO, said Planned Parenthood never stopped performing abortions, but that's not what its website said.

Harvey explained their technology provider became swamped amid the rapidly changing national landscape as the Dobbs decision came down. She called it a "glitch" that wouldn't allow patients to make appointments online.

"It incorrectly said that we were not providing any abortions. Of course, we were staying within the limits of the law, up to six weeks," Harvey said. "I think it was taken advantage of by anti-abortion groups who started sending out press releases and, you know, doing a victory lap, but there's no victory lap here."

Harvey wouldn't provide WOSU with specifics on the number of abortions they provide, but she did say in the past week they've had to turn away "hundreds" of people whose pregnancies had advanced beyond the six-week cutoff, which is typically when cardiac activity can first be detected.

Harvey said they've been working to help those folks arrange to get an abortion out of state.

Time will tell how all of this will affect their bottom line.

According to publicly-available financial reporting, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio saw a net loss of over $2.8 million in 2020, largely due to the onset of the pandemic.

Harvey said abortions are just one of a myriad of women's health services they provide.

"Many of the people who come to us for abortion care, they are self-pay. Most people do not have the finances because Medicaid won't pay for [an abortion]. So it's not like it's this huge revenue stream, right? It is a mission to give people the care that they need and they deserve," Harvey said.

Harvey shared a conversation she had with a woman who is in her first year of medical school. She said she isn't looking to get pregnant for at least the next eight years. Harvey said women should take another look at their contraceptive methods right now to make sure they fit their reproductive life plan.

"There's the pill that you can take every day, and it's really important that you're diligent and take it every day. But there are also the long-acting, reversible contraception that can stay inserted and active for three years, five years, up to 12 years," she said.

Harvey said she's worried about what the Dobbs decision and Ohio's new abortion law will mean, especially for Black and brown patients and others who may be affected by homelessness or other hardships.

"Abortion care is health care. And it is a decision that everyone should have the right to make and no one can judge them or make that decision for them. And we are proud to be a provider of safe abortion care," Harvey said.
Copyright 2022 WOSU 89.7 NPR News. To see more, visit WOSU 89.7 NPR News.

Matthew Rand