Lawsuit Filed To Thwart Draconian GOP Abortion Ban In Ohio

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A group of Ohio abortion providers recently filed a new lawsuit in the state in hopes of stopping the enforcement of a post-Roe abortion ban blocking almost all access to the procedure for Ohio residents after around six weeks of pregnancy.

The coalition behind the case originally filed their concerns with Ohio’s Supreme Court, but after months of inaction, the group recently asked for the dismissal of the earlier case and is getting behind this new effort seeking a temporary restraining order stopping the law. A hearing in the new case is scheduled for September 8. According to arguments in the new lawsuit, the restrictive abortion ban is in violation of the privacy rights of residents of Ohio and discriminates against women in the state. Although the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe and eliminated the federal legal framework providing abortion protections across the nation — for now, advocates pushing for the protection of access to abortion have repeatedly pointed to rights enshrined in state constitutions in outlining their arguments.

“We couldn’t wait any longer,” as Freda Levenson, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, explained. “Things were taking so long in the Ohio Supreme Court. It’s been over two months of ongoing and worsening damage across the state.” Dr. Sharon Liner, who’s the medical director at Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, explained via an affidavit in the new case some of the seriously damaging impacts from the ban. “Many patients broke down in tears in our office,” she said. “Many patients that we could not reach by phone who came to our health center expecting to have their appointment were extremely upset; some threatened to hurt themselves because they were so distraught.” The new lawsuit was filed last Friday in Hamilton County. The county is the largest in the state and includes Cincinnati, a highly populated, southern city.

The coalition of interests behind the lawsuit includes Preterm, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, Dr. Liner, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, and the Toledo Women’s Center.

President Joe Biden recently spoke of the possibility of putting protections for abortion back into federal law if Democrats add on to their Senate majority to the point of securing a simple majority in the chamber in favor of making certain changes to the filibuster rules. The changes many are seeking would let the Senate do more on a simple majority basis instead of waiting on a 60-Senator coalition in the 100-member chamber to form. In an era of political partisanship led in part on one side by Donald Trump, bipartisan cooperation isn’t exactly a hallmark.

Around the United States, Republican officials quickly moved to implement new restrictions on abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court opened up opportunities for state officials to do so via the overturning of Roe. In Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis raised the possibility of even more restrictions beyond what officials already put together. On the flip side, governors in states from coast to coast quickly began locking down protections for abortion, alongside protections for those seeking reproductive healthcare. Such protections included refusals to cooperate with out-of-state proceedings potentially targeting someone who traveled to a nearby state for obtaining an abortion or otherwise restricted reproductive healthcare.