September 19, 2022

Ohio Heartbeat Law Temporarily Blocked

On Sept. 14, a judge in Hamilton County, Ohio issued a 14-day temporary restraining order blocking Ohio from enforcing its law banning abortion after the unborn child's heartbeat is detectable (six weeks).

When issuing the order, Hamilton County Pleas Court Judge Christian Jenkins suggested that he might interpret the state constitution as creating a right to abortion. "No great stretch is required to find that Ohio law recognizes a fundamental right to privacy, procreation, bodily integrity and freedom of choice in health care decision making," Jenkins wrote.

While the restraining order remains in effect, abortion will become legal until 20 weeks gestation. Women's Med, the only abortion business in the Dayton area, has paused its plans to close due to Jenkins's ruling. It now plans to return to business-as-usual while the law is blocked.

The heartbeat law took effect almost immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June and has been enforced for two months. Abortion businesses in Ohio sued, but courts did not immediately block the law. 

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis accused abortion businesses of shopping for a friendly judge to get the decision they wanted. He also told the Cincinnati Enquirer, "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 what this local judge ruled today. We will prevail."