COLUMBUS, OH - Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court issued a shameful ruling overturning Roe v. Wade — the landmark decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years ago.
This ruling will effectively end protections at the federal level, leaving the relief won in some ACLU of Ohio lawsuits vulnerable to dissolution by anti-abortion leaders. Governor DeWine and Attorney General Yost have already asked a federal judge to lift the injunction against the six-week abortion ban (so-called Heartbeat Bill), which has been blocked from taking effect since July 2019.
The ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America plan to fight back by suing in state court to ensure that Ohioans are able to exercise their rights protected by the Ohio Constitution. The reproductive rights organizations intend to file a lawsuit on behalf of Ohio’s abortion providers to protect the continuity of abortion care in our state under the Ohio Constitution.
“The most important thing to remember is that as of today, abortion is still legal in Ohio. We are determined and prepared to fight to keep it that way. Given the horrible consequences that will be unleashed by the Supreme Court’s decision, the path to regaining our rights will be hard-fought, but the ACLU will be there every step of the way. We won’t stop until all Ohioans are again secure in the power to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families,” noted Freda Levenson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio.
The devastation of this SCOTUS decision will soon be rolling out across the country. In Ohio, lawmakers have already been working for years to try to pass legislation to push abortion out of reach, and are currently considering multiple total abortion bans without exception, although none has become law yet.
“As Ohioans have seen firsthand, banning abortion leaves many with no other option than to carry a pregnancy to term because politicians took away their bodily autonomy. The ACLU has been fighting for reproductive rights for decades – that does not stop today. To Ohio’s anti-abortion politicians we have one message: see you in court,” noted Jessie Hill, cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Ohio.
The impact of being forced to carry a pregnancy against your will - dropping out of school, staying with an abusive partner, or missing career opportunities — disproportionately impacts people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, young people, low-income people, and those living in rural areas. Today’s ruling will have deadly consequences, with the harm falling hardest on Black women and other people of color, who already face disproportionate discrimination in our country and grapple with a severe maternal mortality crisis, especially in states, like Ohio, that are preparing to enforce cruel bans on abortion.
“Today’s decision is as dangerous as it is shocking, but know that Planned Parenthood stands with you,” said Iris Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. “Anti-abortion politicians have plotted across all levels of government to take away our rights and control our bodies, from the U.S. Supreme Court to the Ohio state legislature. Today, abortion is still legal in the state of Ohio. We will continue to fight with and for you. Always.”
More than half the states across the country are expected to quickly move to ban abortion, plunging 36 million women and other people who can become pregnant into a public health and civil liberties crisis. Across the country, anti-abortion politicians are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to gut abortion access and they are planning to push a nationwide ban on abortion the moment they get the chance. Their agenda is explicit: Ban abortion and criminalize pregnant people accessing abortion, as well as the medical professionals who serve them.
Additional details about the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s impending lawsuit will be available in the coming days.