Judge temporarily blocks abortion bill affecting doctors

By: - March 4, 2022 3:40 am

Abortion rights activists rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Robin Bravender, States Newsroom.

A Hamilton County judge has blocked the state from enforcing a new abortion-related law temporarily.

Common Please Court Judge Alison Hatheway said Planned Parenthood groups and the Women’s Med Dayton clinic are “likely to succeed” in their lawsuit, therefore justifying a temporary block of Senate Bill 157,.

The law would have barred physicians who worked with medical schools and were affiliated with public universities from also working with abortion clinics across the state, something that clinics say would particularly impact the Southwest Ohio region, who has few options for abortion care.

Hatheway said the clinics and the patients of those clinics “will suffer irreparable constitutional, business and other harms if an injunction is not issued. Keeping SB 157 from going forward would ensure Women’s Med Dayton’s “ability to continue to provide safe, time-sensitive, constitutionally protected health care to its patients without interruption,” the judge wrote in her recent order.

The ACLU, who is arguing the case for the clinics, and the clinics themselves released a statement saying the court decision “is a win for providers and patients.”

“The courts have confirmed again and again that these unnecessary restrictions pushed by Ohio politicians impose severe burdens on patients and providers,” the groups wrote.

This is the third decision by Hatheway to come out in favor of abortion and reproductive health clinics. One blocked a law attempting to force clinics to bury or cremate fetal tissue remains after an abortion, and another kept the state from prohibiting telemedicine as a method to conduct medication abortion appointments.

The newest decision will be in effect until March 16, when a new court hearing will be held to decide the next steps in the case, including blocking the law for a longer period of time.

The court’s decision comes as one of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Stephen Huffman, R-Tipp City, introduced a new abortion regulation bill in the General Assembly, specifically targeting medication abortion.

Huffman’s bill, Senate Bill 304, adds more regulations to the administration of misopristol and other medications that are used to induce abortion without surgery. Included in the new provisions of the bill is a ban on medication abortions after ten weeks gestation.

The bill would also require physicians to schedule a follow-up seven to 14 days after the abortion medication is given, and to notify the patient that they may see the fetal remains after the abortion is completed.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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