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Draft opinion abortion: Here's where abortion law stands in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana

Leaked SCOTUS report shows Roe v. Wade overturn
AP Poll Abortion
Posted at 2:56 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 23:51:17-04

CINCINNATI — There's a lot of speculation about what will happen to abortion rights in the United States after the leak of a SCOTUS draft opinion that suggests judges on the high court will overturn the 1973 ruling.

Right now abortion is legal in the United States due to the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, however, what states define as legal abortion varies slightly. There's also a lot of legislation in the works in an attempt by lawmakers to limit when, where and how women can get access to abortion services.

Here's a breakdown of where the Tri-State stands:

OHIO

Abortion is legal in the state of Ohio until the gestational age of 20 weeks, according to the Ohio laws and Administrative Rules Legislative Service Commission. The city of Lebanon became the exception in May 2021 when city council voted on an abortion ban. There are no abortion providers in Warren County. However, this bill would outlaw clinics from coming to Lebanon. Doctors who perform the procedure could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail.

Locally, women can get an abortion at the Planned Parenthood in Mount Auburn and in the Dayton area at the Women's Med Center.

Anti-abortion legislation in the works

The Human Life Protection Act, House Bill 598, also known as the "Heartbeat Bill," would completely criminalize abortion without exemptions for rape and incest. The bill states it would make an exemption for saving the life of the pregnant person. It would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks. According to medical experts, six weeks is before most women know they are pregnant.

A federal district judge temporarily blocked this bill from taking effect after it was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in July 2019.

DeWine also signed Senate Bill 27 in December 2020. It was intended to replace an earlier Ohio law requiring aborted fetuses to be disposed of “in a humane manner,” but without defining “humane.”

In February 2022 Hamilton County County Common Please Judge Alison Hatheway blocked the law from taking effect for a second time.

Under current law fetal remains from what are known as surgical, or procedural, abortions fall under existing rules for handling infectious waste, meaning they could be disposed of with material from other medical procedures. Abortion opponents lobbied for the new language, which they say assures human dignity. Abortion rights groups have called it another effort by the state’s Republican-led Legislature to obstruct a legally available procedure.

In seeking to keep the law blocked, abortion providers and their lawyers argued the law imposes a funeral ritual on every patient, regardless of religious or spiritual belief, removing their autonomy.

Hatheway delivered them a victory, determining the law violates the clinics’ and patients’ rights to due process and equal protection. The injunction she granted will stand until a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health and others determines the permanent fate of the law.

DeWine signed the "Born Alive" bill in December 2021. It imposes criminal penalties on doctors who fail to give medical care in the extremely rare circumstance when a baby is born alive following an abortion attempt.

According to the Ohio Legislature, Senate Bill 260 was signed into law in April 2021. It essentially bans the use of telemedicine for the purpose of providing abortion-inducing drugs.

KENTUCKY

Like Ohio, abortion is legal in Kentucky until 20 weeks. The only two abortion clinics in the state are located in Louisville.

Anti-abortion legislation in the works

In April 2022, The GOP-led legislature overrode Gov. Andy Beshear's veto of House Bill 3, making it law. It includes 72 pages of revisions to Kentucky's abortion laws, with many new requirements that clinics must meet.

The two Louisville clinics said they cannot comply because the law mandates a new regulatory process that hasn't been set up yet, resulting in an "unconstitutional ban on abortion in Kentucky." As a result, a federal judge issued a temporary order blocking Kentucky's new abortion law from taking effect.

INDIANA

Abortion in Indiana is legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, according to a New York Times roundup of abortion restrictions in all 50 states. According to a 2020 report from the state, women got abortions at 12 Indiana providers. The closest abortion clinics to the Tri-State are in the Indianapolis area.

Anti-abortion legislation in the works

In June 2021, a federal judge blocked a new Indiana law that would require doctors to tell women undergoing drug-induced abortions about a disputed treatment for potentially stopping the abortion process.

The ruling came just before the so-called abortion reversal law adopted by Indiana’s Republican-dominated legislature was to take effect. The lawsuit filed by abortion-rights groups argues doctors would be forced to give dubious medical information to patients.

Supporters of the law say women should know how to possibly halt a medication-induced abortion.

(WLEX in Lexington contributed to this report)