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Cleveland abortion clinic sees 50% increase in calls after judge temporarily blocks Ohio abortion law

Preterm executive director says many calls coming from neighboring states where abortion is mostly illegal
Posted at 9:28 PM, Sep 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-20 15:57:19-05

CLEVELAND — Just days after a Hamilton County judge temporarily put on hold Ohio’s abortion ban at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat, clinics told News 5 they’re seeing quite the increase in calls.

“Part of the call volume is a real sense of urgency, like this is their only window to get in,” Sri Thakkilapati told News 5.

Thakkilapati serves as executive director at Preterm, the independent nonprofit abortion provider clinic in Cleveland.

“I think we had a 50% increase in the number of calls that we get and many of those have been from neighboring states where abortion has become illegal,” she added.

Preterm is the clinic behind the lawsuit claiming Ohio’s current abortion ban at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the Hamilton County judge overseeing that case granted a request for a temporary block on the law for two weeks.

RELATED: Judge temporarily blocks Ohio law banning most abortions after six weeks

“We actually called back people who we had to send home earlier this week and last week to see if they wanted to come back in,” Thakkilapati added. “This is a moment when we can breathe again.”

The decision means abortions through 20 weeks' gestation, approximately 22 weeks after the last menstrual period, can continue for now, in keeping with state law in place before the ban.

Before the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v Wade back in June, Thakkilapati said her office, arguably the largest in the state, averaged about 100 patients a week. That number was more than cut in half when Ohio quickly instituted its own ban.

News 5 spoke with Ohio Right to Life after Wednesday's decision.

“It's very disappointing,” Elizabeth Whitmarsh with Ohio Right to Life said on Wednesday. “It's definitely not a shock. It's also a reminder that the fight is far from over and that the in the state of Ohio, we definitely can't take for granted the fact that we have pro-life politicians all the way from the governorship, all the way down to a pro-life general assembly.”

Both sides issued an urge for people to vote this November, as all signs point to the case going to the Ohio Supreme Court.

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