COLUMBUS – Today, August 20, the ACLU of Ohio, Preterm, and others filed a motion in the Southern District of Ohio asking the Court to enter a permanent injunction against the near-total abortion ban signed by Governor DeWine in April of this year. A federal judge temporarily blocked the ban from taking effect on July 3, the state did not appeal the injunction and the deadline for doing so has passed. The plaintiffs now seek permanent relief to prevent this abortion ban from taking effect in the future. Abortion is still legal in Ohio and every other state.
“This motion doesn’t change the status, legality, or accessibility of abortion in Ohio. While our attorneys at the ACLU continue the work of defending Ohioans’ right to make personal healthcare decisions, Preterm is working to make sure every Ohioan knows that abortion services are still legal and available in their home state. We remain open, providing comprehensive abortion care to women and pregnant people with dignity and respect. If Judge Barrett rules in our favor, he is ruling in favor of the health of Preterm’s patients and all Ohioans,” said Chrisse France, Executive Director of Preterm-Cleveland.
“The law is well-settled that women possess a fundamental constitutional right of access to abortion. There is no question that this abortion ban must be permanently blocked,” said Freda Levenson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio. In his order granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Barrett wrote, “The Plaintiffs are certain to succeed on the merits of their claim that SB 23 is unconstitutional on its face.”
“Planned Parenthood is proud to stand with other health care providers in our unwavering commitment to protect the right for all Ohioans to access abortion care. We expect that the court will continue to uphold a person’s constitutional right to make a personal medical decision in collaboration with their physician, their family, and their spiritual advisor – without the interference of lawmakers,” said Iris E. Harvey, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
“This motion seeks to permanently block the blatant attempt to cut Ohioans off from access to reproductive health care and ban safe, legal abortion in the state. At six weeks, most people don’t even know they’re pregnant. This law would effectively take away a person’s right to make their own medical decisions before they even know there’s a decision to make. When politicians attack health care, they disproportionately impact people of color, women, the LGBTQ community and young people. Access to health care should not depend on who you are, where you live, or how much money you make. Politicians have no right to dictate personal medical decisions and we will not stand for it,” added Kersha Deibel, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio.
“Today’s court filing brings us one step closer to striking down this dangerous abortion ban once and for all. We will fight to ensure Ohio’s ban, similar bans in other states – such as Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama – and all restrictions that threaten to push abortion out of reach for those who need access to care are blocked in court,” said Elizabeth Watson, Staff Attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
For years, politicians in Ohio have passed legislation intended to ban abortion care. The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Preterm are currently challenging a separate law that criminalizes abortion when one of a woman’s reasons for an abortion is a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Planned Parenthood and Women’s Med Center of Dayton are challenging an abortion ban prohibiting physicians from providing dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, the standard method for abortion care after about 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Women’s Med Center and Planned Parenthood also are seeking to invalidate a state law that requires surgical abortion providers to secure a medically unnecessary written transfer agreement with a local hospital.
Preterm-Cleveland is represented by the ACLU and ACLU of Ohio; Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, are represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Gerhardstein & Branch; Women’s Med Corp Professional Group and Capital Care Network of Toledo are represented by Gerhardstein & Branch.
A copy of the motion for judgment on the pleadings and permanent injunction is available on the ACLU of Ohio website.