Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)
The following article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
In his tweet announcing the motion, Yost said that the injunction was based on precedents set by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a landmark 1992 case that upheld the right to an abortion established by Roe.
“Roe was poorly reasoned, a doctrine of shifting sands that invited non-stop litigation, that’s exactly what we’ve had for 50 years,” Yost said.
The six-week bill, sponsored by state Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), does not have an exception for rape or incest. It also only applies only to intrauterine pregnancies. It only has two exceptions.
The ban allows for physicians to perform an abortion if the procedure is to prevent a someone’s death or bodily impairment, which is defined as any “medically diagnosed condition that so complicates the pregnancy of the woman as to directly or indirectly cause the substantial and reversible impairment of a major bodily function.” This includes pre-eclampsia, “inevitable” abortion and premature rupture of the membranes. It could also be diabetes or multiple sclerosis but it can’t be anything related to mental health.
To be able to perform the life-saving measure, a physician has to write that the procedure is necessary for the above reasons and must include the medical condition and the medical rationale for it. Also, the written documentation must be included in the pregnant person’s medical records and the doctor must have a copy of it for at least seven years.
The other exception is if there is no heartbeat.
The bill also requires a pregnant person to sign a form acknowledging that there is a heartbeat detected.
According to experts, the term “fetal heartbeat” is misleading and medically inaccurate.
“At six weeks of gestation, those valves don’t exist,” said Dr. Nisha Verma, an OB-GYN who specializes in abortion care and works at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “The flickering that we’re seeing on the ultrasound that early in the development of the pregnancy is actually electrical activity, and the sound that you ‘hear’ is actually manufactured by the ultrasound machine.”
Nevertheless, the form would include statements that say “the unborn human individual has a fetal heartbeat,” and would include the statistical probability of bringing that “individual” to term.
“We knew this was coming, but it’s still devastating,” said Sri Thakkilapati, the interim director of the Preterm Clinic in Cleveland, the abortion provider named in Yost’s filing. “We’re in a situation where somebody’s abortion could be legal today and illegal tomorrow.”
Thakkilapati says she is fully staffed, getting patients in the door as quickly as they can, and ready to refer patients to clinics in other states where they can obtain abortions.
Thakkilapati also says she will also continue to fight today’s supreme court decision, which she described as a brutal defeat.
If someone violates the abortion ban, they are guilty of a felony of the fifth degree.
A former pregnant person could file civil action for a wrongful death suit of their unborn child, and they could be awarded court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees if they win.
The legislation also creates the Joint Legislative Committee on Adoption Promotion and Support, which would be made up of three House members and three Senate members.
In addition, it allows the State Medical Board to take disciplinary action for failure to comply with the act’s requirements. It allows the board to assess penalties of up to $20,000 for each abortion ban violation.
The person who received the abortion would get criminal immunity and immunity from civil liability.
The bill doesn’t prohibit contraception or birth control.
On Friday night, Gov. Mike DeWine signed executive order 2022-11D which permits the Ohio Department of Health to immediately adopt the Heartbeat Bill, which DeWine signed in 2019.
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