September 28, 2006

CINCINNATI – The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio applauded yesterday’s decision by Federal District Court Judge Susan Dlott that Ohio women should have easier access to a drug that provides early, safe pregnancy termination. Dlott ruled that Ohio House Bill 126, which restricted the use of mifepristone, was unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the law.

“The Court’s decision protects the health of women and the ability of their doctors to provide them the best medical care,” said Jessie Hill, cooperating counsel for the ACLU.

“Clinics around the state such as Preterm, the out-patient clinic that was one of the plaintiffs in the case, will continue to provide this drug as a safe, non-surgical alternative to their clients,” added Hill.

Since the FDA approved mifepristone in 2000, over 500,000 women have safely used the drug. Prescribed especially for women early in their pregnancies, it is used as a safe and effective non-surgical option for many women.

House Bill 126 was enacted in 2004, but before it could go into effect, the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood filed suit on behalf of three Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates, Preterm in Cleveland, and two physicians challenging the constitutionality of the bill. Judge Dlott then issued a preliminary injunction preventing it from going into effect. Yesterday’s action makes that injunction permanent.

“Ultimately, the court recognized that the law was far too vague, which could cause serious consequences for the health of Ohio women,” concluded Hill. “All women, together with their doctors, should be able to choose the medication or procedure that best fits their health, free from undue influence and confusion from politicians.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio has offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati and community and campus chapters located throughout the state. Due to a recent increase in membership, there are now nearly 30,000 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and more than 500,000 nationwide.