Judge Blocks Ohio’s Heartbeat Abortion Law

·2 min read

A judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the implementation of Ohio legislation that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.

The trigger law, signed by Republican governor Mike DeWine in April 2019, was activated after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade over the summer.

In the ruling, Hamilton County judge Christian Jenkins granted a 14-day suspension of the law, which was challenged by the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood on behalf of abortion clinics in the state.

The plaintiffs claimed the law infringes upon equal protection rights afforded by the state constitution.

“No great stretch is required to find that Ohio law recognizes a fundamental right to privacy, procreation, bodily integrity and freedom of choice in health care decision making,” Jenkins wrote in the decision.

As a result of this update, Women’s Med in Kettering, the Dayton area’s sole abortion facility, will put its plans to close on hold and will start performing abortions next week, a spokeswoman told Cincinnati.com.

The law bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected with exceptions for when the mother’s life is in danger, when there is a serious risk of major harm to the bodily function of the pregnant mother, and in cases of an ectopic pregnancy.

“The record is replete with evidence of women who have suffered and whose health has been placed in jeopardy as a result of S.B. 23,” Jenkins wrote. “S.B. 23 clearly discriminates against pregnant women and places an enormous burden on them to secure safe and effective health care such that it violates Ohio’s Equal Protection and Benefit Clause and is therefore unconstitutional.”

In his deliberations, the judge reportedly considered the case of the ten-year-old Ohio rape victim who traveled to Indiana in June to obtain an abortion after the procedure was made mostly illegal in her home state.

At a hearing last week, the judge referenced the case and said, “We should just be very honest about what we’re talking about here.”

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati told AP that it wasn’t surprised by the restraining order after he made that comment.

“Let’s just be very honest,” the organization wrote in a statement, “it is always, always best when LIFE is chosen. Always.”

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