Pro-abortion groups seek to bypass supreme court in abortion ban lawsuit

By: - September 7, 2022 3:45 am

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The groups hoping to put a stop to a six-week abortion ban in Ohio say the Ohio Supreme Court’s inaction forced them to move on to a different court.

In a recent court filing, the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood asked the state’s highest court to dismiss their case in favor of separate litigation in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

The court filing claimed Planned Parenthood has suffered “irreparable harm which has increased to become intolerable” since filing the lawsuit at the end of June, causing a separate lawsuit to request “immediate relief from the ongoing irreparable harm to the clinics and their patients.”

Jessie Hill, counsel of record representing the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood, said the move was spurred by not only the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, but also the impending closure of Women’s Med Center of Dayton and clinics in surrounding states like Kentucky and Indiana.

“Ohioans’ access to abortion care is becoming more and more restricted,” Hill told the OCJ. “Since the situation is so dire and the Ohio Supreme Court has not acted, we needed to pursue an alternative path that could lead to quicker relief.”

The new lawsuit has been filed, with the added support of law firm WilmerHale, challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 23, the bill that is called the “Heartbeat Bill” by supporters, because the bill’s ban hinges on the presence of fetal “cardiac activity.”

Opponents of the law say banning abortion at six weeks could close out options to women before they are aware of the pregnancy and have unintended consequences for other fetal medicine fields, such as in-vitro fertilization and miscarriages. Meanwhile, Ohio doctors are describing scenes of almost unimaginable anguish — and increased risks to women and girls who become pregnant, in the months since the Dobbs decision.

“Ohioans deserve the information and resources to make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” said Lauren Blauvelt-Copelin, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Advocacy at Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, in a statement announcing the Hamilton County Court case.

The groups have already asked the court to implement a temporary restraining order, keeping the state from enforcing the law until the court case has been resolved. The Ohio Supreme Court had previously rejected a request to do so in the case in their court.

The court has not scheduled any hearings on the matter, or made any decisions on the temporary restraining order.

Follow OCJ Reporter Susan Tebben on Twitter.

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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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