On Wednesday, July 3rd, a federal judge in Columbus, Ohio, decided to temporarily block Ohio’s abortion law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, arguing that the law would “end the procedure in the state”, the Associated Press reported.
The heartbeat bill, which was set to become enforceable July 11th, can prevent abortions as early as six weeks in some cases, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett has argued. For this reason, he believes that this law will effectively end the procedure altogether.
He further commented that it is his opinion that the American Civil Liberties Union (representing Planned Parenthood), as well as other civil rights attorneys “are certain to succeed on the merits of their claim that (the bill) is unconstitutional on its face,” should they continue with their legal battles.
Barrett also wrote that “The law is well-settled that women possess a fundamental constitutional right of access to abortions,” and that the heartbeat law is part of a “national anti-abortion strategy to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision,” the Associated Press reported.
Pro-abortion activists have since celebrated the decision which will keep abortion clinics open and their nurses, and doctors employed.
Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper had this to say:
Year after year, Ohio Republicans have continued to push plainly unconstitutional legislation, and now a federal judge—a Republican appointee—has blocked their latest attempt to ban abortion and punish doctors in the state. The Ohio GOP is wasting taxpayer resources, and they are putting Ohioans’ lives in danger with their attacks on reproductive health care.
So far, a total of 19 states have attempted to propose and pass similar bills since 2013, but only 4 have succeeded in the legislature and become laws, most die in committee before reaching that stage.
However, even after having their fetal heartbeat bills become laws, all four of the states which have succeeded, those being Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Ohio, have continued to face similar problems, such as this most recent blocking by a federal judge who refuses to enforce the new law. “Courts have already blocked substantially similar laws in Kentucky and Mississippi. Abortion providers also have sued in Alabama and Georgia,” the Canadian Press said.
This most recent Ohio law was signed in on April 11th, 2019 by Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, after it had been vetoed twice by his predecessor John Kasich.
At the time, Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said, quite unambiguously, “The heartbeat bill is the next incremental step in our strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade. While other states embrace radical legislation to legalize abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy,” he added, “Ohio has drawn a line and continues to advance protections for unborn babies.”
Since this most recent blocking of the law, Gonidakis has stayed firm with his stance and agenda, saying, “The heartbeat bill has the potential to be the vehicle that overturns Roe v. Wade. We know that this temporary restraining order is just a step in the process to finally seeing Roe reconsidered.”
Dewine’s spokesman, Dan Tierney, seemed to agree with the outcome of this recent decision, if not the sentiment, and said in a statement: “Gov. DeWine has long believed that this issue would ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”