October 11, 2019

CINCINNATI —The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction today against an unconstitutional abortion ban. The law criminalizes abortion when one of the woman’s reasons for the abortion is a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

This ruling follows oral arguments which occurred on January 30th, 2019, before a federal three-judge panel comprised of Chief Judge R. Guy Cole, Judge Bernice Bouie Donald, and Judge Alice Batchelder.

Jessie Hill, cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, delivered arguments on behalf of abortion care provider Preterm Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, Women's Med Group Professional Corporation. Benjamin Flowers issued arguments on behalf of the state.

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, had the following reaction:

“Today, the Court rightfully recognized that this law is nothing more than an offensive attempt to play politics with the lives of Ohio women and their families. Ohioans should have all the medically accurate information and resources they need to make decisions that are best for them, including the decision to end a pregnancy, and the support to raise their children with dignity. This law is part of an orchestrated national agenda to ban abortion care entirely, and we are heartened that the Court has stepped in to block this measure.”

Jessie Hill, cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Ohio:

“The Sixth Circuit was absolutely correct to continue to block this unconstitutional law that undermines the relationship between patients and their doctors. Meanwhile, the Ohio legislature continues to churn out abortion ban after abortion ban, one more extreme than the next. We hope today’s decision sends a clear message to anti-abortion politicians about our reproductive rights.”

Chrisse France, executive director of Preterm-Cleveland:

“This ruling allows our expert physicians and staff to continue protecting our patients’ personal information, respecting their decisions, and providing care without judgment, as we always have. Let this ruling be a signal that Ohio’s abortion providers will continue to stand up for the rights of the communities that we serve.”

Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio:

“Once again, the courts have ruled in favor of allowing people to control what happens to their own bodies without interference from lawmakers. Although we are pleased with the court’s decision, there is far more work to be done to ensure that all Ohioans – no matter their background – can get the care they need and deserve. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting to protect Ohioans’ right to access the full spectrum of reproductive health care, which includes safe, legal abortion.”

The ban, first signed into law by Governor John Kasich in December 2017, is part of a national strategy to push abortion out of reach. Since the passage of HB 214, Ohio has also passed legislation banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy when many people don’t even know they are pregnant, as well as a bill banning the medically preferred method for performing an abortion after the first trimester. Both pieces of legislation are being challenged in federal court.  

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