Reproductive Freedom Press Release

03.11.20

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments in Case Challenging Ohio Abortion Ban, Preterm v. Himes

Criminal Justice

CINCINNATI, OH – The en banc Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments today in Preterm-Cleveland v. Himes, a case challenging an Ohio law that would ban abortion if even part of the patient’s reason for seeking  the abortion is a fetal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Every court in the country to consider such bans have blocked them. Ohio’s law is currently blocked.

“For almost 50 years, the Supreme Court has recognized that the decision about whether or not to continue a pregnancy is a personal decision that must be made by the woman,” said Jessie Hill, the attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, which argued the case on behalf of Preterm and other abortion providers. “Whatever decision they make, women should be supported, and shouldn’t have the government attempting to coerce  their personal decisions about pregnancy. We are hopeful that the court will respect women’s constitutional rights and continue to block this unlawful ban.”

“This ban is outright dangerous, and makes it impossible for patients to have constructive, honest and informed conversations about a Down syndrome diagnosis with their doctors,” said Chrisse France, the Executive Director of Preterm, a Cleveland-based independent clinic and the largest abortion provider in Ohio. “Instead of playing politics with family decision-making, lawmakers should make sure people with disabilities have access to the services they need and that their rights are protected. This ban does not help patients – it takes their decisions away.”

“Politicians may have packaged this law differently from the 20 other abortion restrictions enacted in Ohio since 2011, but make no mistake: this is another attempt to push abortion out of reach, and is part of a nationwide attack on the right to abortion” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “We will continue to fight against this unconstitutional ban, and all attempts by lawmakers to criminalize abortion and interfere with personal medical decisions.”

The ACLU, the ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and attorney Jennifer Branch of Gerhardstein & Branch brought the case on behalf of Preterm Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, and Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation.

###