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Wed May 15, 2019, 01:52 PM

In Ohio, the fight begins

After telling Gov. Mike DeWine they would see him in court, Ohio abortion providers have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn a pending law to forbid abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected — typically around six weeks.

The action filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus on Wednesday asks a judge to stay enforcement of the “heartbeat” law, scheduled to take effect July 11, and overturn it as causing “irreparable harm to plaintiffs’ patients from the unconstitutional denial of their reproductive rights.”

“A ban on abortions starting at six weeks is a ban on almost all abortions,” said Elizabeth Watson, a staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project. “Approximately 90% of abortions in Ohio take place at or after six weeks. Before six weeks, most women don’t know they are pregnant. If the court does not block the ban the consequences will be devastating.”

Supporters of the law, including the first-year Republican DeWine, conceded the law would be challenged in court, and that it serves as a “vehicle” for the U.S. Supreme Court to to revisit, and perhaps overturn, its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Abortion opponents hope two conservative justices appointed by Republican President Donald Trump could lead to reversal of the precedent.


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