Federal Court Deals Devastating Blow To Ohio Anti-Abortionists

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Predominately white men have been making laws that chip away at a woman’s right to choose whether she has an abortion or not. Abortion is not a form of birth control. The waiting room of an abortion clinic is one of the most somber places in modern America. Access to birth control has been proven to be the best deterrent to abortions. Yet, these same people want to limit birth control, too. They certainly have no interest in the well-being of a baby. Abortion is about control.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) approved and signed the “heartbeat” bill. The former Governor John Kasich vetoed it. Across the country, state lawmakers have gnawed away at a woman’s legal right to an abortion. The “heartbeat” law became the law that was “most restrictive,” because women often did not even know they were pregnant before six weeks.

The draconian “heartbeat” law was ready to take effect next week in Ohio. Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett, a Republican appointee, wrote a 12-page order that “granted a preliminary injunction” that prevented Ohio from enforcing the law temporarily. He referenced the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That law halts states from placing undue burdens upon women who want an abortion, according to Cleveland.com:

‘This Court concludes that (the law) places an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to choose a pre-viability abortion, and, under Casey, Plaintiffs are certain to succeed on the merits of their claim.’

He wrote about the “heartbeat” law that:

‘One could characterize the obstacle Ohio women will face as not merely “substantial (but) insurmountable…to the extent that the State of Ohio is making a deliberate effort to overturn Roe (v.Wade) and established constitutional precedent… those arguments must be made to a higher court.’

Barrett indicated that his ruling was predicated upon current Supreme Court precedent (stare decisis). The judge wrote that the Ohio state law will remain blocked until “he issues an order otherwise.”

A physician or medical personnel can hear a fetal heartbeat as early as six weeks. This meant the woman often would not know that she was pregnant. In effect, the law ends a woman’s choice. In Ohio, almost 90 percent of the abortions were performed “at or after six weeks.”

Staff attorney from the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Elizabeth Watson spoke at a news conference. She announced this lawsuit with Planned Parenthood and Preterm-Cleveland as plaintiffs.

The only exceptions to the Ohio law, Senate Bill 23, would have been for the mother’s health or if her life was at risk. There were no exceptions for the technical definition of rape, including incest.

The law was designed to punish the physicians and medical professionals who perform the abortion should they not do an “abdominal or transvaginal ultrasound. Of course, for rape victims, this would further traumatize the patients.

The crime against doctors would be a “fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 criminal fine.”

The ACLU of Ohio released a press release including statements from Preterm and Planned Parenthood. Executive Director of Preterm-Cleveland Chrisse France wrote:

‘Today’s ruling keeps abortion legal for all Ohioans, but we know the fight does not stop there…Ohioans deserve access to abortion that is safe, affordable, and without shame or judgment.’

Attorney General Dave Yost for Ohio said he anticipated Barrett’s ruling:

‘Casey’s elastic legal standard is ripe for review. This office will fulfill its duty to defend the laws passed by the elected representatives in the General Assembly.’

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis released this statement:

‘The Heartbeat Bill has the potential to be the vehicle that overturns Roe v. Wade. We know that this temporary restraining order is just a step in the process to finally seeing Roe reconsidered.’

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Deputy Director Jaime Miracle released a statement:

‘…he most important thing that Ohioans need to know is that abortion access is available in Ohio. When a person has decided to have an abortion, they should be able to access that care safely, affordably, in their community, with support and respect, not shame or pressure.’

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