COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - Three organizations have officially filed a lawsuit challenging Ohio's controversial abortion legislation.
The so-called "Heartbeat Bill" was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine back in April and bans all abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected on an ultrasound, usually around six-weeks into the pregnancy. DeWine was the third governor to sign similar legislation into law. Georgia has now become the fourth state to enact similar legislation.
The law is set to take effect on July 10th, but a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and Preterm, an Ohio-based abortion and sexual health clinic, seeks to keep it from going into effect at all. A similar suit has already blocked a bill in Kentucky and futher suits are planned in Georgia.
“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. “The law of the land has been crystal clear for nearly 50 years: women have a categorical right to a pre-viability abortion.”
“At six weeks, most people don’t even know they’re pregnant,” said Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region. “We’re challenging this law because it would take away a person’s right to make their own medical decisions before they even know they have a decision to make. When politicians attack health care, they disproportionately impact people of color, women, the LGBTQ community and young people and access to health care should not depend on who you are, where you live, or how much money you make. Politicians have no right to dictate personal medical decisions and we will not stand for it.”
The legal action is not surprising. Ohio Lawmakers, including Gov. DeWine expected the challenge even before signing the bill into law, expressing their intent to fight for the abortion ban all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Several other pieces of legislation looking to restrict abortion in Ohio are already facing court challenges. Currently, abortion is legal nationwide under laws established by the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.