Ohio Judge Blocks Premature Enforcement of Senate Bill 157, Preserving Procedural Abortion Access in Southwest Ohio

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
March 2, 2022 3:30 pm

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CINCINNATI — An Ohio judge today granted a temporary restraining order blocking the premature enforcement of Senate Bill 157, a law that would allow the Department of Health to revoke ambulatory surgical licenses and threatens to shut down procedural abortion services in Southwest Ohio. The decision grants relief requested by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Ohio, representing reproductive health care providers, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, and Women’s Med Dayton.

Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alison Hatheway found that the premature enforcement of the law before its effective date violates Plaintiff Women’s Med Dayton’s due process rights. A hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction is set for March 16 at 1:30pm.

The legal challenge, filed last Friday, sought a temporary restraining order followed by a preliminary injunction to provide immediate relief to Women’s Med Dayton. SB 157 was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Dec. 22, 2021, and does not take effect until March 23, 2022; however, the law was already being enforced against Women’s Med Dayton.

The following statement is issued on behalf of representatives from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, and Women’s Med Dayton:

“The courts have confirmed again and again that these unnecessary restrictions pushed by Ohio politicians impose severe burdens on patients and providers. Today’s decision is just one in this series of rulings that sees these technical licensing requirements for what they are — dangerous laws with no other intention than to eliminate access to abortion in Southwest Ohio. Temporarily blocking this law is a win for providers and patients, but our fight to protect abortion access in Ohio is far from over. We are as dedicated as ever to protecting Ohioans’ freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies, their families, and their futures.”

SB 157 will make it even more difficult, if not impossible, for abortion clinics to comply with the already onerous requirements to maintain their ambulatory surgical license. Under this new law, abortion clinics would no longer be able to contract with backup physicians who teach or provide instruction, directly or indirectly, at a medical school or osteopathic medical school affiliated with a state university or college, or are employed by or compensated pursuant to a contract with, and provide instruction or consultation to, a medical school or osteopathic medical school affiliated with a state university or college.

The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the ACLU, the ACLU of Ohio, and Fanon A. Rucker of the Cochran Firm-OH on behalf of the two reproductive health care providers in Southwest Ohio.

Read the full ruling here: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/e3/3e/e33e686b-aefe-46b3-9eee-35c5b547819b/a_2200704_-_entry_granting_temporary_restraining_order.pdf

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