NATIONAL NEWS

ACLU, Planned Parenthood challenge Ohio abortion restrictions after voter referendum

Mar 29, 2024, 11:23 AM | Updated: 1:06 pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a legal challenge on Friday to some of Ohio’s abortion laws, now that Ohio voters have enshrined voting rights in the state’s constitution.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of abortion clinics says that since Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to protect such rights in an amendment last November, it violates the constitution to require women wanting abortions to endure mandatory waiting periods and multiple in-person informational appointments.

“These laws are now in clear violation of the newly amended Ohio Constitution, which enshrines the explicit and fundamental right to abortion and forbids the state from burdening, prohibiting, penalizing, and interfering with access to abortion, and discriminating against abortion patients and providers,” attorney with the ACLU of Ohio Jessie Hill said in a press release.

The laws ultimately interfere with patient well-being, don’t provide tangible health benefits and lack medical justification, the ACLU alleges. Instead, the ACLU says, such practices “unnecessarily” delay time-sensitive care and force “harmful, distressing and stigmatizing” information on patients.

The ACLU is asking the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to declare the restrictions to be unconstitutional and permanently unenforceable.

The office of Republican Attorney General Dave Yost did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Ohio is one of four states that have amended their constitutions to enshrine abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022.

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Samantha Hendrickson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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