CINCINNATI, 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 a lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 157, recently passed legislation that would allow the Department of Health to revoke ambulatory surgical licenses and threatens to shut down procedural abortion services in Southwest Ohio. Governor DeWine signed the bill into law on December 22, 2021.
The legal challenge, filed in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, seeks a temporary restraining order followed by a preliminary injunction to provide immediate relief to one of the plaintiffs, Women’s Med Dayton. Although SB 157 does not take effect until March 23, 2022, the law is already being enforced against Women’s Med.
“Senate Bill 157, in the guise of a technical requirement for a licensing variance, is actually an extreme and dangerous law that seeks to eliminate access to procedural abortion services in Southwest Ohio. Ohio politicians are piling yet another medically unnecessary, arbitrary, and onerous requirement on abortion facilities in an attempt to put abortion out of reach for Ohioans. We are urging the court to see through this façade and block this law, which violates the Constitution of our state,” said Amy Gilbert, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio.
SB 157 makes it even more difficult, if not impossible, for abortion clinics to comply with the already onerous requirements to maintain their ambulatory surgical license. Under this new law, abortion clinics can no longer contract with backup physicians who teach or provide instruction, directly or indirectly, at a medical school or osteopathic medical school affiliated with a state university or college, or are employed by or compensated pursuant to a contract with, and provide instruction or consultation to, a medical school or osteopathic medical school affiliated with a state university or college.
“Today we’re joining the ACLU and others to file against the unconstitutional SB 157. By prohibiting abortion providers from contracting with physicians who teach at, or work for, institutions like the University of Cincinnati, lawmakers are hoping to make it impossible for abortion providers to operate in Southwest Ohio. We won’t stand for it. Ohioans need and deserve complete access to reproductive health care. Full stop. Barring abortion providers from contracting with highly qualified physicians is the opposite of good patient care. Ohioans deserve better,” said Kersha E. Deibel, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.
Women’s Med Dayton asks the court to issue a temporary restraining order followed by a preliminary injunction enjoining the Ohio Department of Health from enforcing Senate Bill 157 before it goes into effect.
Read the complaint below.