Loading articles...

Judge blocks Ohio abortion law, clinics to remain open

Last Updated Jul 3, 2019 at 5:53 pm EDT

FILE - In this file photo taken Oct. 2, 2013, Ruth Clevenger of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, waves a U.S. flag during a "We Won't Go Back" women's rally at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)

A federal judge temporarily blocked an Ohio law Wednesday that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, allowing clinics to continue to provide the procedure as a legal faceoff continues.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett halts enforcement of the so-called heartbeat bill law that opponents argued would effectively ban the procedure. That’s because a fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant.

Barrett said Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics represented by the American Civil Liberties Union that sued to stop the law “are certain to succeed on the merits of their claim that (the bill) is unconstitutional on its face.”

Barrett joined the court in 2006 after being nominated by Republican President George W. Bush.

Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Ohio law in April, after predecessor John Kasich, a fellow Republican, twice vetoed it.

Ohio is among a dozen states that have considered similar legislation this year, as abortion opponents have pursued a national anti-abortion strategy to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, said in an emailed statement the decision “upheld the clear law: women in Ohio (and across the nation) have the constitutional right to make this deeply personal decision about their own bodies without interference from the state.”

Ohio Right to Life, the state’s oldest and largest anti-abortion group, called the judge’s decision disappointing but not surprising.

“The heartbeat bill has the potential to be the vehicle that overturns Roe v. Wade,” Mike Gonidakis, the group’s president, said in a statement. “We know that this temporary restraining order is just a step in the process to finally seeing Roe reconsidered.”

Latest Traffic & Weather
680 NEWS TRAFFIC @680NEWStraffic 680 News Traffic Twitter verified icon
Updated Today at 05:28 PM
CLEARED: All lanes re-opened EB 401 east of Avenue Rd express - heavy from the 427.
Latest Traffic
680 NEWS WEATHER @680NEWSweather 
Updated Today at 02:22 PM
What a beautiful fall day in our city! Sunshine sticks around all weekend. Currently at @TorontoPearson we are at…
Latest Weather