by Tyler Arnold
The Ohio ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging recently signed legislation that would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he intends to take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the abortion law precedent set by Roe V. Wade.
“This is an expected development,” Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for DeWine, told The Center Square in an email. “Gov. DeWine has long said that this issue will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court.”
The national ACLU and abortion provider Planned Parenthood filed the joint lawsuit with the Ohio ACLU. The lawsuit claims that the legislation violates the precedent in Roe V. Wade, which ruled that abortion is a Constitutionally protected right required to protect a woman’s right to privacy.
“This assault on reproductive rights has been anticipated, and we’ve been preparing and perfecting our case,” Freda Levenson, the legal director for the Ohio ACLU, said in a news release.
“‘Total ban’ is not inflammatory rhetoric — this is a ban on almost all abortions, and if the court does not block it, it will imperil the freedoms and health of Ohio women,” Levenson said. “The law of the land has been crystal clear for nearly 50 years: women have a categorical right to a pre-viability abortion.”
A heartbeat can be detected as early as five and a half weeks. According to the news release, this legislation would outlaw about 90 percent of Ohio abortions and disproportionately affect people of color, poor people and young people.
A doctor who aborts a fetus after a detectable heartbeat could be sentenced to a year in prison with fifth-degree felony charges under this legislation. Doctors who violate the law could face further disciplinary action from the State Medical Board, which could include fines up to $20,000.
The bill provides an exception for if the mother’s life is at risk, but there is no exception for rape or incest.
Ohio is one of several states this year to pass legislation that puts restrictions on abortion, including Mississippi, North Dakota, Georgia, Kentucky and most recently Alabama. Most of the legislation is being challenged in federal court for seemingly violating the precedent in Roe V. Wade.
When DeWine signed the Ohio legislation, he said he was signing this legislation to prompt the Supreme Court to revisit standards set in Roe V. Wade.
Currently, the Supreme Court has five Republican appointees and four Democrat appointees. The legislation to put restrictions on abortion was prompted by Justice Anthony Kennedy stepping down and being replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Kennedy, who was appointed by former Republican President Ronald Reagan, famously voted with the court’s liberals to uphold Roe V. Wade. Abortion opponents are hoping that Kavanaugh will be more likely to be swayed by the anti-abortion arguments.
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Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia, Ohio and Michigan for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine.