Planned Parenthood Brings Legal Challenge to Ohio Heartbeat Law

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking an emergency block against Ohio’s pro-life trigger law prohibiting most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is medically detected. The court case also seeks a permanent declaration that the new law is unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The new Ohio law took effect on June 24, just after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision in the 1973 landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.

The motion was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, and seeks an immediate stay against the law, stating it has “decimated abortion access in Ohio” after approximately six weeks after a last menstrual period, “before many women even know they are pregnant.” The lawsuit claims that a right to abortion exists under the Ohio Constitution along with other fundamental rights.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told the media he would defend the new law in court and also took issue with Planned Parenthood’s decision to start the case in the state supreme court rather than a trial-level court.

Yost said that “races don’t start at the finish line, and lawsuits don’t start in the final court.” He also said Planned Parenthood was plainly wrong on the law, stating that abortion is not found in the Ohio Constitution.

If a stay is granted, the limit for legal abortion would revert to the previous standard of 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood has also assured the public that it will continue providing abortion procedures in the state, despite the ruling bringing an end to Roe. However, a screenshot posted earlier in the week by pro-life group Created Equal shows the website of the Planned Parenthood North Columbus Health Center stating the facility is not currently providing abortions in Ohio.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio spokesperson Aileen Day told reporters on Thursday that the webpage is a “technical glitch” and maintained the facility is still providing abortion procedures “up to six weeks.”

Created Equal president Mark Harrington said that it appeared “the abortion giant was afraid of bad press and is now doing damage control.” He added that his group would keep its team of counselors posted outside of Planned Parenthood facilities weekly to offer support to mothers in need.

The new lawsuit was filed on behalf of the abortion provider by the American Civil Liberties Union and the WilmerHale law firm.