CINCINNATI — An Ohio court today blocked a law that would criminalize abortions when one of the woman’s reasons for the abortion is a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The law, which was signed by Governor Kasich in December 2017, had been scheduled to take effect on March 23, 2018. Today’s ruling blocks the law’s implementation as litigation proceeds.
“The court rightfully saw through Ohio lawmakers’ thinly-veiled attempt to criminalize abortion and interfere in a woman’s personal health decisions,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “This law does absolutely nothing to support people with disabilities—it’s just another ploy to make it nearly impossible for Ohio women to get the care they need. We are committed to making sure this unconstitutional law is never enforced and today’s ruling brings us one step closer.”
The organizations challenging the law contend that it violates the constitutionally protected right to abortion and opens the door for politicians to further intrude into the personal health decisions of women and families.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for Ohio women and families,” said Chrisse France, executive director for Preterm. “Every woman should have access to the information and resources she needs to make the decision that’s best for the circumstances of her pregnancy and for her family. This law takes us in the opposite direction by undermining the relationship between doctors and patients and interfering in these critical and confidential conversations. Instead of forcing doctors to interrogate their patients, Ohio lawmakers should focus on ensuring families have access to the support necessary to raise their children with dignity.”
“This law is about restricting abortion, plain and simple,” said Jerry Lawson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio. “The patient-doctor relationship is critical; a woman should be able to trust her physicians and have confidential conversations with them without worrying about government interference. We are pleased with the court’s decision to prohibit the state from slapping yet another unnecessary abortion restriction on the women of Ohio. We will continue to stand up and fight back against efforts to decimate access to safe, legal abortion in Ohio – no matter what.”
The complaint was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Planned Parenthood and the Gerhardstein & Branch law firm on behalf of Preterm Cleveland and a number of other abortion providers in Ohio, including Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, and the Women’s Medical Group Professional Corporation.