Legal Move To Stop Post-‘Roe’ Abortion Ban Deployed In Ohio

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A lawsuit has been filed with the Ohio state Supreme Court seeking a block on a six-week abortion ban in the state that recently went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a case which previously established federal recognition of the right to an abortion.

The lawsuit characterizes Ohio’s six-week ban, which has limited exceptions, as in violation of the state Constitution of Ohio. Similar arguments — citing the relevant state Constitution — have been used in litigation challenging other new abortion restrictions put in place after Roe was overturned. The Ohio case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm WilmerHale. It was brought on behalf of Preterm-Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, Toledo Women’s Center, and Dr. Sharon Liner, a physician who provides abortion services.

Less than a day after Roe was overturned at the federal level, a federal judge in Ohio granted a request by authorities in the state to let the six-week ban — which had previously been blocked — go into effect. Now that Roe is overturned, state officials are free to regulate abortion according to their personal or political ambitions, and the process around the country of imposing strict, new restrictions on abortion quickly began. It’s a felony offense for a medical provider to violate the Ohio ban.

“This sweeping measure, which prevents nearly every pregnant person from accessing essential care, is blatantly unconstitutional under Ohio’s state constitution which has broad protections for individual liberties. We ask the Ohio Supreme Court to stop enforcement of Senate Bill 23. Absent action from the court, many Ohioans will be forced to give birth against their will, many will have illegal or dangerous abortions, and some will die,” Freda Levenson, who serves as legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, said. She also spoke of how people of color and low-income communities would face disproportionate impacts. As outlined in a press release from the ACLU of Ohio, the Ohio ban is “currently inflicting serious and irreparable harm on Ohioans who are in need of and constitutionally entitled to vital reproductive health care.”

Litigation brought elsewhere in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe has already been temporarily successful; in Utah and Louisiana, so-called trigger bans on abortion — designed to go into effect in the event Roe was actually overturned — were recently temporarily blocked by courts. In the Louisiana case, a hearing was scheduled for July 8. As reported here, the three abortion clinics left in Louisiana indicated they’d restart abortions following the decision by Judge Robin M. Giarrusso of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court to issue a temporary restraining order halting the enforcement of the state ban. It’s those three clinics that sought emergency relief ahead of Giarrusso’s decision. Meanwhile, Third District Judge Andrew Stone in Salt Lake City issued a temporary restraining order — active for two weeks — that stopped the enforcement of the Utah ban. Stone issued that order June 27.