DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – More than 1,000 Ohio physicians have united since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, signing a letter describing the impact Ohio’s laws have on their jobs and their patients.
“Abortion is part of a patient health care and they are tough decisions,” Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights founder Dr. Marcela Azevedo said. “They are not easy, but they don’t need government action. They need thoughtful, expert discussion between a health care provider and the patient.”
With Ohio’s “heartbeat law” now in effect, which makes abortion illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, Azevedo teamed up with her friend, Dr. Lauren Beene, to form the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights.
“It turns out, that’s how everyone felt they just didn’t have anyone to say let’s organize, let’s make this happen,” Azevedo said.
What they thought would be just a handful of practicing physicians from Ohio, turned into 700 members in three days, then more than 1,100 members in one week.
Those members signed and published a letter of dissent against Ohio’s heartbeat law.
“Our first project was literally just let’s get words on paper,” Azevedo said. “What is wrong here? How is this happening? And try to explain both from a medical and a human perspective and what we thought was wrong with this ban. There were 30 to 40 people working on this letter at the same time.”
Azevedo said dozens of people worked on the letter at the same time, which explains the impact anti-abortion laws have on doctors and their patients.
“There is wording in there that allows you to protect the life of of a woman in the case of emergency,” Azevedo said. “By training, I’m an ICU doctor and I work in emergencies. When you’re in that emergency, this is too late. This is by far when we’re discussing high morbidity and mortality for women in the country.”
Azevedo said the group has two goals. The first is to change Ohio’s laws and make abortion legal in Ohio. The second is to create a network of physicians and resources for pregnant Ohioans seeking abortion, including funding and support to travel out of the state.
“We’re going to this is the start of the fight, but we’re not going to stop until it’s done, until patients in Ohio have access to abortion in Ohio,” Azevedo said.
To read the full letter from the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, click here.