A Hamilton County judge temporarily halted Ohio’s ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, a law that has been in effect since the U.S. Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion to the individual states.
In his decision, Jenkins wrote that while SB 23 does not violate the U.S. Constitution, per the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the law may be in violation of the Ohio Constitution.
The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
The Ohio Supreme Court allowed the Heartbeat Law to remain in effect while the lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) proceeded against it.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) tweeted in late June the ACLU had filed its lawsuit “in the wrong court,” and also asserted “they are wrong as well on Ohio law. Abortion is not in the Ohio Constitution.”
AG Yost issued the following statement regarding the abortion-related ACLU lawsuit filed today in the Ohio Supreme Court: pic.twitter.com/Nq925fSULu
— Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (@OhioAG) June 29, 2022
The ACLU Ohio and Planned Parenthood then filed a second lawsuit for immediate relief to allow further abortions in the state.
In his decision, the judge said, “Neither party has provided the Court with any authority addressing this issue since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, and the Court has been unable to locate any.”
“However, in 1993 Ohio’s Tenth District Court of Appeals expressly recognized in the abortion context that ‘the Ohio Constitution confers greater rights than are conferred by the United States Constitution,’” he added.
“Abortions up to 22 weeks LMP are now – again – legal in Ohio, effective immediately,” ACLU Ohio celebrated in a press statement:
We’re grateful that, for now, Ohioans can once again widely access abortion care in their own state. But this is just the first step. We have already seen the devastating impact Senate Bill 23 has had on people seeking abortions in Ohio. State lawmakers will stop at nothing to try again to permanently restrict our reproductive rights; their cruelty knows no bounds. We remain intensely committed to defending against any and all attempts to limit Ohioans’ constitutional right to access the full range of reproductive health care in their home state.
The judge, at one point, cited the affidavit, submitted by the abortion provider-plaintiffs, of David Burkons, M.D., who asserted that, because of the Heartbeat Act, physicians were refusing to treat patients with ectopic pregnancies in emergency rooms for fear of prosecution:
Dr. Burkons describes a high-school-aged patient who ended up in the hospital on suicide watch after being turned away because of S.B. 23 . . . Dr. Burkons also explains that patients with ectopic pregnancies have reported being turned away from emergency rooms due to S.B. 23, with one case resulting in fallopian tube rupture requiring surgery rather than typical medical management . . . The providers in those cases were apparently concerned that intrauterine pregnancies might also be present and feared prosecution under S.B. 23 if they aborted such a pregnancy when intending to treat an ectopic pregnancy, which is specifically excepted from S.B. 23.
However, as Christina Francis, M.D., CEO-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) told The Star News Network in a recent interview, the abortion industry and its providers have been circulating “myths” on maternal medical care since the Dobbs decision, in order to prop up its primary claim that abortion is “lifesaving medical care.”
Francis said among the top falsehoods AAPLOG is challenging is that women will not be able to obtain treatment for ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages in states that have outlawed abortion.
“Which, of course, is not true,” she said. “All you have to do is look at the state laws and look at the language in the state laws that are on the books to see that they don’t outlaw those kinds of treatments.”
“But, also, look to the practices of those of us who have practiced medicine our entire careers, or practices of hospitals that did not allow abortion, such as Catholic hospital systems, where we’ve always been able to treat those conditions,” Francis continued:
And what about when a woman’s life is in danger because of a pregnancy complication? While that may be termed by some an “abortion,” one, it’s allowed by state laws that are very clear about ending a pregnancy early, prematurely separating mom and baby in situations where the mom’s life is in danger, but also, again, looking to our everyday practice, you know, as an OB hospitalist, I am managing high risk OB patients, I am taking care of those rare situations where mom’s life is in danger because of a pregnancy complication. And in those circumstances, I, as well as every other competent physician knows, that’s not the same as an elective abortion.
Francis said she and other trained OB/GYNs can still intervene in these emergencies, noting that “well-trained OBs know how to identify signs that a woman is becoming sick before she becomes critically ill so that we can intervene before.”
“That’s the other piece of misinformation that we’re hearing,” Francis added, “that women have to be going to the ICU before you can intervene – which is not true at all.”
“That’s medical malpractice, if physicians are waiting until that point to try to intervene,” she asserted.
Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis said in a statement “pro-life Ohio” will ultimately “prevail.”
“By forum shopping, abortion activists temporarily got what they wanted, which is the ability to abort children with a beating heart,” he asserted. “Nowhere in the Ohio Constitution or anywhere in the Ohio Revised Code will any Ohioan find supporting evidence that Ohio’s current heartbeat law is anything other than good law which saves lives.”
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