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Court puts one Ohio abortion law on hold while lawmakers unveil another bill to limit the procedure

Supporters of legal abortion and oppoents of it clash outside the chambers of the Ohio House in April, 2019
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Supporters of legal abortion and opponents of it clash outside the chambers of the Ohio House in April, 2019

This is happening as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case that could ban or significantly weaken abortion rights.

The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas put on hold Wednesday a new state law that makes it harder for abortion clinics to get licenses to operate. The law wasn't supposed to go into effect until later this month but attorneys for two Southwest Ohio abortion clinics say the Ohio Department of Health was using it early to try to deny a Dayton area abortion clinic the variance it needs to operate under current law.

abortion opponents (front row) and abortion rights supporters (dressed as Handmaids in back) listen to testimony on an abortion bill in a committee at the Ohio Legislature
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
abortion opponents (front row) and abortion rights supporters (dressed as Handmaids in back) listen to testimony on an abortion bill in a committee at the Ohio Legislature

Meanwhile, Ohio Senator Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City), who is also a medical doctor, has introduced a bill that would make it harder for Ohioans to get a medication-induced abortion. It is meant to stop abortion providers from diagnosing patients and issuing abortion-inducing pills over the phone then sending them through the mail. Huffman's bill is supported by Ohio Right to Life. Mary Parker, director of legislative affairs for the organization says "Ohio law needs to be updated to ensure that women receive proper medical care rather than abandoning them to dangerous and unsupervised at-home abortions."

Kellie Copeland with Pro-Choice Ohio says the state legislature has been passing legislation that isn’t constitutional and has been on a campaign against abortion in general. “To spread misinformation about the safety of abortion, about the qualifications of abortion providers and to really try to dissuade people from accessing the abortion care they need,” Copeland says. She points to a new bill to make it harder for women to get abortions induced by medication, which she says is the most common and safest method.

The Ohio Legislature is considering other bills that would ban or limit abortion including one (SB123) that would make abortion illegal in Ohio immediately if the U.S. Supreme Court rules states have that power. There's another bill (HB480) fashioned after a Texas law that would allow “any person” to file civil lawsuits against anyone in Ohio who performs abortions or helps someone get an abortion. Neither bill has had a hearing yet in this General Assembly.

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