COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge temporarily blocked Ohio’s ban on virtually all abortions Wednesday, again suspending a law that went into effect after federal abortion protections were overturned by the United States Supreme Court in June.
The decision means that abortions up to 20 weeks gestation can continue for now, under state law in effect before the ban.
Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins’ decision to grant a 14-day restraining order against the law is part of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio on behalf of abortion providers in the ‘State. The clinics argue that the law violates state Constitution protections guaranteeing individual liberty and equal protection. The lawsuit also says the law is unconstitutionally vague.
The law was signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in April 2019 and bans most abortions after the first detectable “fetal heartbeat.” Cardiac activity can be detected as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. The law had been stalled by a court challenge, then came into effect after the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade.
DeWine’s opponent in the November election, Democrat and abortion-rights supporter Nan Whaley, called Wednesday’s decision a “victory, albeit a temporary one, for the women of Ohio.” She said, “The women of Ohio won’t be safe until we have a pro-choice governor who doesn’t seek to impose extreme views like government mandates against private health care decisions. »
Abortion providers and their advocates said the law has already created a host of hardships, including forcing a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio to travel to Indiana for an abortion.
The judge’s ruling is a blow to abortion opponents, who are celebrating the implementation of restrictions long delayed since Roe’s overturning.
Greater Cincinnati’s Right to Life had expected the judge to lean into a break after a hearing last week, when he asked about the 10-year-old’s case and suggested, “We should just be very honest about what we’re pretty much talking about here.
“Let’s just be very honest,” the anti-abortion group wrote in a statement, “It’s always, always better when LIFE is chosen. Still.”
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