Ohio’s six-week abortion ban has been temporarily blocked

Senate Bill 23 was passed in 2019 and was upheld by the US Supreme Court in Roe v. It took effect when Wade was overruled. The law prohibits abortions performed after early heart activity is detected – usually about six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant – except in medical emergencies.

With the judge’s ruling, abortion is again available up to 20 weeks post-fertilization (or about 22 weeks after the patient’s last menstrual period). The temporary restraining order is in effect for the next 14 days, and the plaintiffs have requested a preliminary hearing pending the case.

“SB 23 clearly discriminates against pregnant women and places an enormous burden on them to ensure safe and effective health care, as it violates Ohio’s Equal Protection and Benefit Clause and is therefore unconstitutional,” wrote Christian A. Jenkins. the judge in his order.

On September 2, Ohio abortion providers filed a new challenge to SB 23 in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, arguing that the law violates the state constitution. The groups said they dropped an initial challenge to the law that was before the state Supreme Court, which denied a request for an emergency stay.

“We are grateful that, for now, Ohioans once again have access to comprehensive abortion care in their state. But this is just the first step. We have already seen the dramatic impact Senate Bill 23 has had on people seeking abortions in Ohio.” The plaintiffs and defendants said in a joint statement. .

The state’s abortion laws have come under particular scrutiny in recent months following a case in which a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio traveled to Indiana for an abortion.

Preterm-Cleveland, an abortion clinic and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said Wednesday it would resume providing abortions as soon as possible.

Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis said in a statement that “by forum shopping, abortion activists temporarily got what they wanted.”

“We are more than sure that the heartbeat law will come into effect relatively soon,” he said. “Furthermore, we can ensure pro-life Ohio that Ohio will be abortion-free for the foreseeable future, regardless of what this local judge rules today.”

Laws banning abortion or severely restricting the procedure have gone into effect in a dozen states after the US Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion. In several of these states, abortion rights advocates and providers have taken legal action to challenge abortion restrictions and have seen some success in temporarily blocking the bans.

This week in nearby West Virginia, lawmakers approved a bill that would ban nearly all abortions except to save the life of a pregnant person or in certain cases involving rape or incest, sending the measure to the state’s Republican governor for approval.