A judge in Cincinnati announced Friday he will issue a preliminary injunction against a new Ohio law that prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, according to the ACLU of Ohio.
“As a result of the ruling, abortion up to 22 weeks of pregnancy will remain legal while litigation continues,” the organization said in a statement.
Senate Bill 23 was passed in 2019 and took effect when the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June. The law bans abortions performed after early cardiac activity is detected – typically around six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant – except in medical emergencies.
Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins agreed with the plaintiffs who say that the law puts an undue burden on pregnant women, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “You’re restricting her opportunities. You’re restricting her rights. You’re relegating her to a different status,” Jenkins said, according to the newspaper.
Jenkins had issued a temporary restraining order against the ban last month after Ohio abortion providers challenged SB 23 in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, arguing that the law violates the state constitution.
“Ohioans deserve far better than the chaos and confusion that we’ve seen since the U.S. Supreme Court stripped us of our federal constitutional right to an abortion,” the plaintiffs said in a statement Friday. “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to fight for and protect Ohioans’ rights as guaranteed by the Ohio Constitution.”
Ohio’s abortion laws have come under particular scrutiny in recent months following a highly publicized case involving a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who traveled to Indiana to obtain an abortion.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, did not immediately say whether he intended to appeal the injunction.
“We will wait and review the judge’s actual written order and consult with the Governor’s administration as far next steps,” spokesman Steven Irwin told CNN Friday afternoon.
Laws that ban abortion or severely restrict the procedure have gone into effect in about a dozen states after the US Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to abortion. In several of these states, abortion rights advocates and providers have taken legal action to challenge abortion restrictions and have seen some success in temporarily blocking bans.
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