With the judge’s decision, abortion is again available up to 20 weeks after fertilization (about 22 weeks after a patient’s last menstrual period). The temporary restraining order is in place for the next 14 days and the plaintiffs have requested a preliminary injunction while the case unfolds.
“SB 23 clearly discriminates against pregnant women and places an enormous burden on them to ensure safe and effective health care, so it violates Ohio’s Equal Benefits and Protections Clause and is therefore unconstitutional,” Judge Christian A. Jenkins wrote in his order.
On September 2, Ohio abortion providers filed a new challenge against SB 23 in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, arguing that the law violates the state constitution. The groups said they withdrew their initial challenge to the law which was before the state Supreme Court, which denied their request for an emergency stay.
“We are grateful that, for now, the people of Ohio can once again have widespread access to abortion care in their own state. But this is only the first step. We have already seen the devastating impact of Senate Bill 23 on Persons Seeking Abortions in Ohio,” the plaintiffs and litigants said in a joint statement.
Preterm-Cleveland, an abortion clinic and one of the plaintiffs in the case, said Wednesday it would resume offering abortions for as long as possible.
Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis said in a statement that “by doing forum shopping, abortion activists temporarily got what they wanted.”
“We are more than confident that the heartbeat law will come into effect relatively soon,” he said. “Furthermore, we can assure pro-life Ohio that in the near future, Ohio will become abortion-free, regardless of what this local judge decides today.”