The ACLU of Ohio has been defending abortion access across the state through the courts for decades. Below you can find an updated list of the anti-abortion bills we have challenged and their current status.
*Last updated on January 12, 2023.
Six-Week Abortion Ban (SB 23): State ex rel. Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Yost, et al.
Following the SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. JWHO to overturn Roe v. Wade and strip us of our federal right to abortion, the ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and law firm WilmerHale filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court to block SB 23 and restore abortion access in Ohio. On September 2, 2022, due to the ongoing irreparable harm to Ohioans, the reproductive rights organizations have withdrawn the lawsuit they initially filed in the state Supreme Court in late June and are instead asking the lower court to grant immediate relief blocking the ban.
Status: On October 7, 2022, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas granted a preliminary injunction against Senate Bill 23 (S.B. 23). Abortions up to 22 weeks LMP will remain legal indefinitely as litigation continues.
Lebanon Abortion Ban: WHO/O & NASW v. Lebanon City
In May of 2021, the Lebanon, Ohio, City Council passed an illegal anti-abortion ordinance. Their sweeping ordinance did more than outlaw abortion within city limits. (There are no abortion clinics in Lebanon, anyway.) This sweeping ban also criminalized those who speak about abortion, or who ‘aid and abet’ an abortion. Banning pro-choice speech just because a handful of anti-abortion lawmakers don’t like it is a direct attack on our First Amendment right to free speech. Using vague language such as “aid and abet’ made anyone who provided money, transportation, or counseling related to abortion liable to prosection and violated our Fourteenth Amendment right to Due Process.
This ban unlawfully restricted Ohioans' rights to abortion and prevented WHO/O and NASW from serving their constituents and performing the duties of their respective missions. The ACLU of Ohio along with Democracy Forward filed a federal lawsuit on May 11, 2022.
STATUS: On January 12, 2023, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and Abortion Fund of Ohio (formerly Women Have Options (WHO/O)) defeated the City of Lebanon, Ohio’s attempt to keep an expansive, criminal prohibition on “aiding” and “abetting” people seeking to access legal abortion services.
TRAP Law (SB 157): Women’s Med Dayton, et al. v. Ohio Department of Health
On June 17, 2022, An Ohio judge granted a second preliminary injuction, blocking the 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 ACLU of Ohio and others filed this lawsuit in February 2022, after Governor DeWine signed this bill into law in December 2021.
STATUS: We now await final judgement on this case. The law remains blocked in the meantime.
Fetal Tissue Disposal Bill (SB 27); Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, et al. v. Ohio Department of Health, et al.
SB 27 would require burial or cremation of fetal and embryonic tissue from surgical abortions. This terrible bill creates horrific and uneccesary burdens on those seeking abortion care. Patients and physicians would face criminal penalties for not complying. The ACLU of Ohio and others filed an initial lawsuit in March 2021.
STATUS: On February 23, 2022, this bill was blocked for a second time by the courts, and will remain blocked until the trial ends.
D&E Ban (SB 145): Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region v. Yost
D&E is the most common second-trimester abortion method. Planned Parenthood challenged this ban in February 2019. Prior to the so-called "heartbeat bill" going into effect on June 24, 2022, abortion was legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks. This D&E ban had been blocked because it would restrict access to medical care by not allowing pregnant people to receive the care they need within the legal time frame of abortion.
STATUS: This ban is in effect. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 24, 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the federal constitutional right to abortion, a federal judge allowed this law, which has previously been blocked, to go into effect.
Down syndrome law (HB 214): Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Himes, et al.
HB 214 prohibits physicians from performing abortions if they are aware the patient’s reasoning is related to a diagnosis or indication of Down syndrome. Although this restriction is at odds with the constitutional right in Ohio to have an abortion for any reason, this law is still in effect. The ACLU of Ohio and others initially sued in February 2018.
STATUS: Although the law currently remains in effect, after the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2018 district court decision upholding the law, we have filed a motion, which is currently pending, that would recognize the law should not apply when a pregnant person’s life or health is at risk.
Telemedicine Ban (SB 260): Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, et al. v. Ohio Department of Health
Telemedicine allows patients to remotely have communication with physicians. SB 260 made it illegal for anyone to use telemedicine in order to receive medication abortion. Planned Parenthood challenged this ban in April 2021.
STATUS: This law remains blocked while the litigation is ongoing.
6-Week Abortion Ban (“Heartbeat” bill): Preterm, et al. v. Yost, et al.
The so-called “Heartbeat” bill, which bans abortion as early as 6 weeks, was initially blocked. The ACLU of Ohio and others initially challenged this law in May 2019. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 24, 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the federal constitutional right to abortion, Judge Barrett of the Southern District U.S. Federal Court granted Gov. DeWine's request to allow this previously blocked abortion ban to take effect.
STATUS: This law is in effect. Abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy is now banned across the state.
Written Transfer Agreement Challenge: Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, et al. v. Hodges, et al.
Written transfer agreements create substantial and unnecessary barriers for clinics to operate in Ohio. Surgical abortions must be performed in ambulatory surgical facilities that maintain a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. Over the last decade, the Ohio General Assembly (OGA) has tightened restrictions on surgical abortion clinics' ability to operate within the state in attempt to make the requirements so impossible to meet that the clinics must close. First, in 2013, the OGA prevented clinics from obtaining written transfer agreements with public hospitals. In 2015, the OGA added another barrier - asserting that a clinic’s license would be suspended if the Ohio Department of Health denies, or fails to act, on a variance application within sixty days. In October, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which also hears appeals from Ohio, upheld Kentucky's written transfer agreement law, although it threatens to close Kentucky's only two abortion clinics. The clinics recently amended the complaint in the Ohio case to narrow the issues for decision.
STATUS: This case is ongoing. On July 29, 2022, the ACLU of Ohio, the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America asked the court to rule for them, arguing that Ohio’s Written Transfer Agreement (WTA) Requirement is unconstitutional because it places medically unnecessary, and burdensome requirements on Ohio abortion providers.