COLUMBUS, OH—Today the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the ACLU of Ohio’s client, Preterm, did not have standing to challenge new anti-abortion restrictions that were unconstitutionally inserted into the 2013 – 2014 state budget bill. In a 5-2 ruling the Justices denied the challenge to the restrictions. These restrictions require Preterm and other Ohio abortion facilities to have written transfer agreements with local hospitals. In addition, Preterm will continue to face criminal liability if it fails to present patients with audio or video of any fetal heartbeat prior to the abortion. The case is captioned Preterm - Cleveland Inc. v. Kasich.
“We are extremely disappointed with the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Jessie Hill, volunteer attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “These abortion restrictions were slipped into a 3,000 page budget bill at the last minute with no public comment. This is a blow to government transparency and women across Ohio will suffer as a result of this decision,” concluded Hill.
“We must point out that the Court’s decision only addresses technical issues. The decision does not speak to the deepest problem with the challenged provisions – that they are blatantly unconstitutional. That crucial issue remains to be redressed,” noted Freda Levenson, legal director of the ACLU of Ohio.
In a separate case, the Ohio Supreme Court also ruled against the Toledo abortion clinic Capital Care in its challenge to the written transfer agreement provision.