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Ohio Sued Over New Heartbeat Abortion Law

Date22 May 2019

Ohio Sued Over New Heartbeat Abortion LawThe ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood and other groups have filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio, challenging its new law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Elizabeth Watson, a staff attorney at ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, described the new law as “blatantly unconstitutional under more than 45 years of Supreme Court precedent.”

A fetal heartbeat can be detected at approximately six weeks in a woman’s pregnancy.

She said that the ban at six weeks will prohibit almost all abortions because most people don’t even know they’re pregnant at that time.

The attorneys at ACLU argue that the new abortion law “is a direct violation of Plaintiffs’ patients’ fundamental constitutional right to decide whether to have an abortion prior to viability, and causes those patients irreparable harm.”

“This assault on reproductive rights has been anticipated, and we’ve been preparing and perfecting our case. ‘Total ban’ is not inflammatory rhetoric — this is a ban on almost all abortions, and if the court does not block it, it will imperil the freedoms and health of Ohio women,” said Freda Levenson, legal director of the ACLU of Ohio.

“We believe that the heartbeat bill is the right vehicle for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Our strategy has always included a federal court challenge and today starts that judicial process,” Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said.

Even though the new law hasn’t gone into effect yet, it’s still difficult for women in Ohio terminate their pregnancies. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research organization, Ohio’s laws were already some of the most restrictive toward getting abortions. Abortions after 20 weeks are prohibited in the state and minors must get parental consent and argue their case in front of a judge.

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction before the new law goes into effect on July 10.


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