Court continues block of Ohio’s 6-week abortion ban          

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs a bill into law on April 11, 2019, that bans abortion as soon as a baby's heartbeat can be detected.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs a bill into law on April 11, 2019, that bans abortion as soon as a baby's heartbeat can be detected. | Screengrab: WKYC

Siding with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Ohio, a judge has expanded an earlier order blocking enforcement of a law that would ban most abortions after about six weeks into a pregnancy, or around the time a baby's heartbeat can be detected.

The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas announced Friday that it would grant a preliminary injunction on behalf of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in the state.

As a result, the six-week abortion ban will be blocked during the course of the litigation; a state law banning most abortions after around 20 weeks into a pregnancy will remain in effect.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, which is helping to represent the abortion providers, released a statement Friday celebrating the preliminary injunction.

“We are thrilled with this second major victory and relieved that patients in Ohio can continue to access abortion as we work to fight this unjust and dangerous ban in court,” said the ACLU and the plaintiffs in a joint statement.

“The preliminary injunction will be in place for the duration of our case, which means abortions will be legal in Ohio for a period much, much longer than the temporary restraining order granted. This court ruling will provide significant relief to Ohio patients and clinics.”

In 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 23, also known as the Ohio Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act, into law.

The law bans most abortions after a baby's heartbeat can be detected.

"The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us — those who do not have a voice," DeWine said in a statement at the time.

"Government's role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end, to protect those who cannot protect themselves, such as the elderly, the unborn, those who are sick, those who have a disability, those who have a mental illness or an addiction."

The law went into effect over the summer, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had previously claimed that abortion was a constitutional right.

Less than a week after Roe was overturned, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the law firm WilmerHale filed a lawsuit seeking emergency relief from the six-week abortion ban.

On Sept. 2, the ACLU decided to withdraw its lawsuit before the state Supreme Court and file a new complaint before the lower court requesting immediate relief from the abortion ban.

Last month, Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins issued a 14-day temporary restraining order blocking the six-week abortion ban.

Center for Christian Virtue President Aaron Baer released a statement last month in response to the temporary block, calling it a “disgrace” that “reads more like a Huffington Post blog than a judicial decision.”

“This nonsensical and irresponsible order must be overturned so that Ohio can go back to protecting unborn children, and to restore trust in a functioning government where legislators make law, and judges don't,” Baer added.

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