COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, along with Fanon A. Rucker of the Cochran Firm-OH, filed papers seeking a second preliminary injunction in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas to prevent the state from enforcing Senate Bill 27. This law requires all embryonic and fetal tissue from a procedural abortion be cremated or interred, imposing severe burdens on patients and stigmatizing abortion even further.
Last April, the plaintiffs — who include all five reproductive health care providers that provide procedural abortions in Ohio — obtained an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the law because compliance would have been impossible at the time, due to the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) failure to provide any of the rules and forms required by SB27.
ODH finalized implementing rules on December 30, which will become effective on January 9, 2022. Under the terms of the court order, the providers have until February 8, 2022, to come into compliance with SB27.
“Compliance with SB 27 will have a devastating impact on the ability of patients to have autonomy over their own lives. The effect of the law will be to delay procedural abortions forcing patients to carry an unwanted pregnancy for weeks or months, and then to undergo riskier and more expensive procedures. Finally, the law imposes a funeral ritual on every patient, regardless of their own religious and spiritual beliefs. Judicial relief is critical to ensure patients are able to exercise their constitutionally protected right to obtain essential health care and determine the course of their own lives,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.
“SB27 is yet another bill based on misinformation and propaganda used to stigmatize abortion providers and the people we serve. If this law is enforced, many patients seeking abortions will be significantly delayed in accessing this vital and time-sensitive health care until later in pregnancy, and others will have to carry pregnancies to term against their will. Despite what anti-choice lawmakers would have us believe, legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States and is vital health care,” added Iris E. Harvey, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
SB27 also sets up conflicting obligations with other Ohio laws which will prevent patients from being able to get a procedural abortion until about 13 weeks of pregnancy and will act as total on abortion for several weeks. Providers who violate SB27 face severe penalties, including criminal penalties, loss of their professional and facility licenses, civil suits, and civil penalties up to $250,000.
“If an individual is forced to continue a pregnancy against their will, it can pose a risk to their physical and mental health, as well as to the stability and wellbeing of their family. Furthermore, being prevented from having a procedural abortion will have a disproportionate impact on the lives of Black people, other people of color, and people with low incomes in Ohio. This law must be blocked,” said Kersha E. Deibel, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.
“This law not only denies pregnant people the ability to choose the best option for their medical care by limiting them to medication abortion or later abortion, it also denies people of their ability to make determinations about the nature and status of their pregnancy. Pregnant people should be able to follow their own moral and spiritual views and practices when making decisions about how to build their lives, families, and futures,” added Jen Moore Conrow, Executive Director of Preterm-Cleveland.
The providers ask the court to issue a preliminary injunction, and later a permanent injunction, restraining the Ohio Department of Health from enforcing Senate Bill 27.