An Ohio law that bans abortion after six weeks of gestation will remain as the state Supreme Court reviews a lawsuit filed to overturn it.
On Friday, the state court denied a request motion by abortion clinics for an emergency stay on the measure that was enacted in 2019, which would have temporarily restored access to abortion services while the lawsuit proceeds. The decision marks another blow to abortion providers following the Supreme Court‘s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last week, allowing states to regulate procedures.
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“Ohioans are suffering in real time, and we have not yet seen the worst of this health care crisis,” Preterm-Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio and other abortion providers said in a joint statement. “All people deserve autonomy over their bodies and the power to make their own health care decisions.”
The providers’ legal challenge was filed in the state courts despite nearly all previous challenges being filed in federal court. The change of strategy follows the June 24 Supreme Court decision to upend Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Following the ruling, abortions in Ohio are now illegal after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, which occurs around six weeks of development.
The Ohio Supreme Court is composed of three Democratic and four Republican justices. The court’s Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has ruled in cases against GOP-drawn maps for state and congressional districts, though it is unclear how she might rule on the petitioners’ lawsuit. The court’s Friday decision was unsigned.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost argued the lawsuit was filed “in the wrong court,” adding that the challengers were wrong about Ohio law.
“Abortion is not in the Ohio Constitution,” he wrote in a press release.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, praised the court’s decision.
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“The Ohio Supreme Court got it right. What the abortion proponents attempted to do legally could not be done,” Gonidakis said. “The good news is that the heartbeat law will remain in effect and save countless lives today and moving forward.”
The coalition of abortion providers is planning to hold a town hall on July 7 to help the community “learn more about how we’re protecting abortion access in Ohio,” according to a tweet by Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.