Judge Blocks Restrictive Ohio Abortion Law As Suit Proceeds

Judge Blocks Restrictive Ohio Abortion Law As Suit Proceeds

Hamilton County Superior Court of Appeals Judge Christian Jenkins speaks with Assistant Attorney General Amanda Narog in a courtroom in downtown Cincinnati, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. On Friday, Jenkins heard arguments to extend the ban on an Ohio law that bans nearly all abortions. Permanent Fund (Cincinnati Inquirer via Sam Green/Associated Press)

Cincinnati (AFP) – A judge ruled Friday that an Ohio law that bans nearly all abortions allows terminations up to 20 weeks pregnant.

Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins issued the preliminary injunction after a day-long hearing in which court security screened visitors and an abortion worker testified she wore a Kevlar jacket out of fear for your safety.

In emotional comments announcing his decision, Jenkins criticized the state's argument that the Ohio Constitution does not address abortion and therefore does not protect the right. He said there was no need to give names to protect rights.

"This court has found without difficulty that the Ohio Constitution provides all Ohioans with fundamental rights to freedom of health care decisions, including the right to privacy, reproduction, bodily integrity, and abortion ."

He said the state failed to show that the ban on most abortions after fetal heart activity was detected was sufficiently designed not to violate those rights. Instead, Jenkins said, the law was written to "almost completely eliminate women's rights in Ohio." It's not a tight fit, not even close.

The state is expected to reopen.

Michael Gunidakis, president of Right to Life Ohio, said his organization was "saddened but not surprised" by the decision .

“Abortion clinics have literally created a forum to get the results they want. This is a moment for the pro-life movement, and we hope the Ohio Supreme Court will overturn this decision . The Ohio Constitution has no right ," Junidakis said. in the statement.

The law, signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in April 2019, bans most abortions after a "fetal heartbeat" is detected. Heart activity can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. The law was blocked by a single case, the 1973 Roe v. When Wade's landmark decision was overturned, it took effect briefly before being overturned again in court.

Jenkins' ruling was not unlike the social and political arguments for and against abortion the day after he testified, and he later said it surprised him more than it broke new ground.

Lawyers for the abortion clinics testified that they insisted abortion was safe and necessary for public health, and pregnant women in Ohio who wanted the procedure were devastated after the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision in Roe v. United States. The law was briefly enforced after the landmark Wade case was overturned.

Steven Ralston, a professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Maryland, said the narrow exemptions included in Ohio's so-called "heartbeat" law are vague and worry doctors who could lose their medical licenses or face criminal charges. Accusation of misrepresentation.

He testified that he sees greater danger in pregnancy than in abortion.

"I've seen more patients in the intensive care unit after childbirth than women who have had abortions, " Ralston said in the video. "In fact, I can't remember a time when I've seen a woman end up in the ICU after a miscarriage."

Prosecutors called on the witness stand Dr. Dennis Sullivan, a bioethicist at Cedarville University, a private Baptist institution, who testified that human life begins at conception and is "scientifically non-negotiable."

He said the Ohio law was "consistent with good medical practice" and that he believed abortions, with the few exceptions involving the risk of serious harm to the mother's life or internal organs, were ethical. There is no exception in the law for fetal abnormalities, which Jenkins raised as an issue.

On cross-examination, Sullivan asked specific questions, particularly his testimony that his views on the nature of human life and the immoral nature of abortion should be imposed on others. .

"My question is, would individually allowing you or anyone else to limit the right to make this provision any better than the right of the person whose autonomy they want to take away?" Jenkins asked.

Sullivan responded by giving an example of a medical case where a struggling woman's freedom can be sacrificed if she arrives at the hospital in need of life support. He also cited Ohio laws that go beyond abortion and limit civil autonomy, such as the state's ban on assisted suicide.

A prosecution witness, Dr. Stephen Gow, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Sullivan's position gave "almost absolute weight" to the moral standing of the fetus over the pregnant patient.

Jenkins said he was impressed by the testimony of Dr. Michael Parker, a Columbus obstetrician and gynecologist, whose testimony revealed a mix of speculative and sometimes conflicting opinions that he believed would be reasonable under the law. That showed him, the judge said, "that it's very difficult to become an intern in Ohio under this law."

The lawsuit seeks to block Georgia's abortion law

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