Michigan, Ohio’s neighboring state, has seen an influx of nonresidents seeking abortion care in the wake of Republican Gov. John Kasich’s relentless campaign to roll back abortion access, FiveThirtyEight reports.
Since Kasich, a 2016 presidential candidate, took office in 2011, he has quietly led his state to an almost unprecedented number of abortion clinic closures. Analysis of data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has revealed that many Ohio residents may in fact be turning to the neighboring state for abortion care.
Although Michigan has seen an overall decrease in abortions since 1987, that number has steadily begun to rise—and so have the number of nonresidents visiting the state for abortions.
“From 2012 to 2013 abortions rose by 11.6 percent, and from 2013 to 2014 they increased 5.8 percent,” explained FiveThirtyEight in a report profiling Kasich’s anti-abortion legacy in Ohio. “Data from Michigan’s health department shows that the number of abortions performed on nonresidents jumped from 708 in 2013 to 1,318 in 2014, an increase of 86 percent.”
Ohio was home to 14 clinics two years into Kasich’s first term in 2013, but as they were forced to comply with medically unnecessary licensing regulations, all but eight closed or were forced to stop providing abortion services, as RH Reality Check has reported.
The Associated Press in November uncovered evidence that Kasich’s aides had played a key role in helping craft the same measure that forced the clinic closures, an anti-abortion restriction inserted into the 2014 state budget that was previously attributed solely to the state’s Republican-majority legislature. Emails obtained by the news organization and verified by the governor’s office detailed how members of Kasich’s team had helped write language for the abortion restriction 18 months prior to the state’s budget being released to the public.
Despite often being labeled as a “moderate” Republican presidential candidate, Kasich has overseen the implementation of 16 anti-choice measures, such as a 2011 later abortion ban, and appointed Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis to the state medical board.
“The slew of new provisions has meant not only fewer options but also more obstacles for women looking to terminate a pregnancy, and in turn it has affected who is able to get an abortion in the state,” FiveThirtyEight reported.
Sheva Guy, a 23-year-old Cincinnati doctoral student, shared her own struggle with obtaining an abortion in Ohio after a second-trimester ultrasound showed that her fetus had a fatal spinal abnormality. In the absence of reliable access to abortion in her home state, where no doctors were willing to do the procedure, Guy was forced to travel more than 300 miles to Chicago and spend $3,000 to receive the care she needed.