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Letter to the Editor: A post-Roe Ohio is a declining Ohio

An end to women’s autonomy and access to abortion care (which is, not surprisingly, quickly snowballing into limiting access to contraceptives) is an end to economic and social power for the U.S. states racing to enact abortion bans. Ohio can be used as a prime example. 

Multinational corporations based in Ohio (like Procter & Gamble and Kroger) and those looking to invest in large facilities (like Intel) will now have to offer company-sponsored medical plans to pay for out-of-state travel for employees and dependents to obtain abortion care. This makes it more expensive to attract and retain high-quality employees in a post-Roe future. Companies looking at their bottom lines will be questioning whether staying in Ohio makes financial sense at all. 

The result will be an impoverished or outright abandoned private sector – meaning fewer jobs and less tax revenue for the state and local communities. Meanwhile, nearby states like Illinois, just 400 miles due west, do not have these bans on abortion care and can offer the same geographical benefits as Ohio. Or, depending how the elections go in November and current court cases now proceed, Ohio jobs will be lost to Michigan (of all places). 

Ohio does not get to keep economic power in a post-Roe future. 

State-of-the-art medical facilities at the Cleveland Clinic and The Ohio State University will lose talented doctors and medical providers and fail to attract high-end students and medical residents to a state where women’s fertility and access to abortion care is criminalized. State and local revenues, via loss of taxes and spending at local businesses, will feel this impact immediately. The decline of access to medical care as doctors, physician assistants and nurses choose to live in states with less medical liability – and not just medical care for those of us who can get pregnant – will be felt by all. 

Ohio does not get to keep highly-trained medical care in a post-Roe future. 

In a post-Roe future, expect a decline in female students attending Ohio institutions of higher learning, which will only speed up the so-called “demographic cliff” faced by higher education. For most of the world-class public universities in Ohio, women make up the majority of the student population – sometimes more than 60% of all students at individual institutions. Young women, nonbinary persons and transgender men will seek college education in free states where abortion care is still accessible. Where the young women are, the young men will be too – including collegiate athletes and potential award-winning football and basketball teams. Further, highly trained and qualified university, community college and technical and vocational school staff and faculty will leave as well, putting Ohio’s post-secondary education in the same boat as the private sector in terms of attracting and retaining qualified employees. 

Of course, early childhood, primary, and secondary education will not be untouched, as young teachers will now have to decide whether to work in a place where a miscarriage can lead to death via medical complications or even jail, or to leave.

Ohio does not get to keep world-class educational institutions in a post-Roe future.

The impending loss of medical and bodily autonomy and access to abortion care does not seem like a crisis to many because they think they are exempt: that they won’t be victims of incest or rape, that they won’t suffer an ectopic pregnancy, that a developmental or genetic disorder in the fetus won’t threaten their life or the life of someone they love and that they won’t get anybody pregnant. Perhaps. But we live in a society. And, like an ecosystem, all things in the society are connected. 

An end to abortion rights means an end to the society as we know it – from the tax money needed to fix the roads, to an educated workforce developing and attracting new jobs and industries, to a likely decreasing population as people leave to live in free states and finally to diminishing power for the state in total. 

Throwing away abortion rights is throwing away Ohio’s economic, educational and social wellbeing power. 

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None of this – from the immense human suffering due to the end of abortion rights, the taking of a constitutional right by the U.S. Supreme Court and the immediate economic and social decline caused by it – will be worth it.

About the author: Jessica McCarty is an associate professor of Geography at Miami University and an international expert in wildland fires, with more than 15 years of NASA funding. She is a wife and mother, living a traditional lifestyle of her own damn choosing. Originally from the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky, Dr. McCarty was raised to believe she would meet Jesus one day and her conscience is clear. 

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