Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue the State of Ohio over 'Heartbeat Bill'

Lawsuit seeks to block the state's six-week ban on abortion and to restore and further protect Ohioans' reproductive rights
Planned Parenthood Meridian
Cincy clinic gets variance to continue abortions
Posted at 12:08 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 13:58:56-04

CINCINNATI — The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood Federation of America are suing the Ohio Supreme Court over the state's moves following the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

According to a press release from the ACLU, the organizations are seeking to "block the state's six-week ban on abortion and to restore and further protect Ohioans' reproductive rights secured by the Ohio Constitution."

Shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost confirmed that he filed a motion to dissolve the injunction on Ohio's six-week abortion ban, often referred to as the “heartbeat bill” by conservatives. He tweeted later in the day that "The Heartbeat Bill is now the law."

"This decision returns abortion policy to the place it has always belonged: to the elected policies branches of the governments," Yost said in a statement released on YouTube early Friday.

The six-week bill, sponsored by state Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), does not have an exception for rape or incest. It also only applies only to intrauterine pregnancies. It only has two exceptions. The ban allows for physicians to perform an abortion only if it will prevent a someone’s death or bodily impairment. The other exception is if there is no heartbeat.

The new lawsuit was filed on behalf of Preterm-Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, Toledo Women’s Center and Dr. Sharon Liner, an individual abortion provider.

“This sweeping measure, which prevents nearly every pregnant person from accessing essential care, is blatantly unconstitutional under Ohio’s state constitution which has broad protections for individual liberties," said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

"Many Ohioans will be forced to give birth against their will, many will have illegal or dangerous abortions, and some will die. People of color and low-income communities, who comprise the majority of patients seeking abortions, will be disproportionately impacted."

You can read the full lawsuit filed by the law firm WilmerHale here.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost responded to the lawsuit in a statement that said "Races don't start at the finish line, and lawsuits don't start in the final court. Aside from filing the wrong action in the wrong court, they are wrong as well on Ohio law. Abortion is not in the Ohio Constitution."

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's office refused to comment on the new lawsuit. Governor DeWine is a known anti-abortion advocate. Below is his response to the SCOTUS decision on Roe v. Wade:

My fellow Ohioans, I fully understand that the Supreme Court’s decision today is deeply troubling to many of you. Those of you who are pro-choice believe this is a matter of freedom and this is a decision only the woman can make.

Those who are pro-life, including my wife Fran and me, believe that the life of a human being is at stake and we have an obligation to protect that innocent life.

Now, we all have friends and others close to us who we respect and who are on different sides of this issue. But whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, Republican or Democrat, we all need to be kind, civil and respect one another as we debate this issue.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

"The Ohio Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction in mandamus cases where, as here, there is an adequate remedy at law through a declaratory judgment and injunction action in a common pleas court—wholly apart from the meritless nature of the Complaint. Clearly, the Plaintiffs believe there is a pro-abortion majority on the Ohio Supreme Court that likely will be lost this November. Thus, Plaintiffs do not want to file in a Common Pleas Court but want the current Supreme Court to declare a fake right to an abortion in Ohio right now. In making that request, Plaintiffs are asking the Ohio Supreme Court Justices to violate the constitutional limits of its jurisdiction, in violation of their oaths of office."

What does Roe v. Wade overturn mean for the Tri-State: Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana have different abortion laws
Cincinnati will pay travel costs for city employees' out-of-state abortions; announces new related legislation
Congress weighs abortion-rights options after Roe v. Wade overturned

Watch Live:

Replay: WCPO 9 News at Noon