Will Ohio Keep Records On Women Getting Abortions?


Story highlights

  • Bill in Ohio House Would Create Records on Women Having Abortions

  • House Democrats concerned records would violate women’s privacy

  • House Republicans say records would be kept safe and not collected by state


Amidst all the debate surrounding abortion, there is a new question being raised in Ohio: should there be a record of everyone who has an abortion?

A bill in the Ohio House would create just that. 

Ohio House Bill 417 would create records about which women have abortions and whether they chose to bury or cremate their fetal remains. The bill was proposed after Ohio Attorney General  Mike DeWine said in December Planned Parenthood allowed aborted fetuses to be “steam cooked” and then sent intact to Kentucky landfills.

DeWine asked that the procedure of “autoclaving” (used by Planned Parenthood’s contractor) be made illegal.  10 Investigates will take a look at allegations raised by the Attorney General and the debate at 11 p.m. Thursday on 10TV.

DeWine’s allegations prompted two bills in the Ohio legislature, including H.B. 417.   The bill does not make clear who would keep those records and who could view them.

“Having a piece of legislation like this that requires a signature really concerns me, because then I want to know, ‘where are the files kept? who has access to the files?’” asked Ohio Rep. Nickie Antonio (D Lakewood.)

In a recent hearing in the Statehouse, Ohio Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) said that abortion providers would create and keep the forms that female abortion patients would fill out, determining how to dispose their fetal remains.

Though details have not been worked out on who could access that information, the bill’s sponsor said there are no plans to allow the records to be turned over to the Department of Health.

“As far as confidentiality of records, I do share your concerns with that. I have made it clear before there would be no mass turnover of these records to the Department of Health. The records would need to be kept in the event so there would be verification,” Ohio Rep. Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) said.

Questions are being raised about the confidentiality of fetal death certificates. Rep. Antonio echoed her privacy concerns about what information would be kept by the state in these fetal death certificates.

Currently, the Ohio Department of Health offers fetal death certificates optionally to parents of fetuses gestating longer than 20 weeks. Fetal death certificates do not currently list whether the fetus was aborted.