Update: 9/21/22: A Hamilton County Judge has extended the temporary block on Ohio’s pro-life law for another two weeks. It was originally scheduled to be lifted on September 28, but will continue for an additional 14 days, allowing abortions through 22 weeks to continue in the state. Women’s Med Center abortion facility in Kettering, Ohio said it has been able to see 30 women — possibly killing 30 babies by abortion — since the law was blocked.
9/16/22: An Ohio judge has temporarily halted the state’s heartbeat law for the next two weeks while a lawsuit against the state proceeds.
The temporary restraining order means that babies up to 20 weeks gestation can be aborted in the state until September 28th. The decision was made by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Christian A. Jenkins, who declared the law “unconstitutional” and granted the injunction because he believes the plaintiffs have a chance at winning their lawsuit.
“S.B. 23 clearly discriminates against pregnant women and places an enormous burden on them to secure safe and effective health care such that it violates Ohio’s Equal Protection and Benefit Clause and is therefore unconstitutional,” he said.
In his ruling, Judge Jenkins also brought up the case of a 10-year-old victim of sexual assault. The case made headlines in July, as an abortionist in the state claims she had to send the victim to Indiana to obtain an abortion because of Ohio’s law. “This child was a victim of crime who should have had access to clearly needed health care in the form of abortion in her community,” Judge Jenkins wrote, according to CNN.
But as Live Action News has reported, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost pointed out that the 10-year-old victim would not have been prohibited from obtaining an abortion in Ohio, due to the medical exemptions it contains. In an interview, Yost stated the law had a “medical-emergency exception broader than just the life of the mother,” said Yost in a Fox interview. “This young girl […] did not have to leave Ohio.”
Additionally, Judge Jenkins’ ruling centers on an erroneous view of abortion as health care – despite the fact that induced abortion (which intentionally kills a preborn human being) is not medically necessary – and his interpretation of the state’s constitution as protecting health care decisions. Ohio’s constitution has a Health Care Freedom Amendment (HCFA) that prevents a law from prohibiting, or imposing a penalty for, the purchase of health care. Lawmakers had passed the HCFA in 2011 with the aim of blocking the implementation of the then-controversial Affordable Care Act. According to the judge’s ruling, “abortion, whether procedural or medication, clearly constitutes health care within the ordinary meaning of that term,” and therefore “this Court recognizes a fundamental right to abortion under Ohio’s Constitution.”
In a statement, Ohio Right to Life president Michael Gonidakis criticized Judge Jenkins’ ruling and the abortionist plaintiffs’ apparent judge-shopping. The case marks the second time abortionists in the state have brought their argument to court; previously, the state’s Supreme Court had previously declined to grant an injunction, and the abortionists withdrew and refiled with Judge Jenkins.
“Nowhere in the Ohio Constitution or anywhere in the Ohio Revised Code will any Ohioan find supporting evidence that Ohio’s current heartbeat law is anything other than good law which saves lives,” Gonidakis said. “We are more than confident that the heartbeat law will go back into effect relatively soon. Further, we can assure pro-life Ohio that in the near future Ohio will become abortion free, regardless of what this local judge ruled today. We will prevail.”
For now, Women’s Med in Kettering, Ohio, the infamous abortion chain of Martin Haskell who pioneered the partial-birth abortion procedure, will remain open. Previously the facility had said it would close September 16.
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