Ohio top court lets six-week abortion ban remain in effect




  • In Politics
  • 2022-07-01 15:10:08Z
  • By Reuters
 

By Nate Raymond and Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) -The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday declined to block the Republican-led state from enforcing a ban on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy that took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

The state's top court denied an emergency request by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to prevent Ohio from enforcing the 2019 law after the U.S. Supreme Court brought an end to the federal constitutional right to abortion.

The decision came amid a flurry of litigation by abortion rights groups seeking to preserve the ability of women to terminate pregnancies, after the historic ruling by the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court.

That ruling gave states the authority to deny, limit or allow abortions. In Ohio, the now-in-effect law lowered the gestational age limit from 22 weeks, the clinics said.

Abortion rights groups have since last week challenged laws in 11 states, with judges in Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas and Utah preventing restrictions or bans from being enforced. A Mississippi judge will hear a challenge to a ban on Tuesday.

The Ohio law, S.B. 23, bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity is first detected, which occurs about six weeks into pregnancies, a point at which many women do not know they are pregnant, lawyers for the clinics said.

The measure, which Republican Governor Mike DeWine signed into law, was previously blocked in the federal courts. But hours after the Supreme Court's decision, a federal judge dissolved the injunction preventing its enforcement.

"We are deeply disturbed by the Ohio Supreme Court's decision to allow the draconian six-week ban to remain in effect as it considers the merits of our case," the abortion providers and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented them, said in a joint statement.

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost had argued Ohio's state constitution did not recognize a right to abortion. In a statement, he said the plaintiffs should be "pursuing their policy goals through the political process, not the courts."

Also on Friday, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers brought a new lawsuit before the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging two state abortion bans, one from 1910 and one passed earlier this year.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday by an 8-1 ruling allowed yet another abortion ban in the state to take effect.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston and Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)

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