by J.D. Davidson
Ohio officials are expected to return to court in Hamilton County for a hearing Oct. 7 after a judge extended a ban on the state’s fetal heartbeat bill for another 14 days.
The decision continues to allow abortions in the state through 20 weeks, pausing a state law that stopped most abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks. The law, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in April 2019, went into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year.
“I applaud the efforts of the organizers who continue to advocate for reproductive justice and freedom for all Ohioans,” state Rep. Catherine Ingram, D-Cincinnati, said following the ruling. “The block of this horrifying six-week abortion ban is temporary, but we won’t stop fighting until this extreme ban is reversed and women have the power to make their own health-care decisions once and for all. No matter who you are or where you live, all Ohioans should be able to access safe, life-saving healthcare when they need it.”
As previously reported by The Center Square, Judge Christian Jenkins ruled earlier the state’s fetal heartbeat bill did not violate the U.S. Constitution after Roe’s reversal, but it may violate the Ohio Constitution.
“No great stretch is required to find that Ohio law recognizes a fundamental right to privacy, procreation, bodily integrity and freedom of choice in health-care decision making,” the ruling read. “In 2011, the Ohio Constitution was amended by popular referendum to adopt the Health Care Freedom 13.”
Among other things, that amendment prohibited federal, state or local law from stopping the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance, and prohibited federal, state or local laws from imposing penalties or fines for the sale or purchase or sale of health care.
The first 14-day stop came 12 days after the ACLU, ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood Federation of American filed for the injunction of fetal heartbeat law.
– – –
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “Pro-Choice Protester” by Becker1999. CC BY 2.0.