On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the federal constitutional right to abortion, and leaving the decision up to the states. Hours after the decision came down, a federal judge in Ohio granted the State’s request to allow a previously blocked abortion ban, Senate Bill 23, to take effect. Senate Bill 23 radically restricts access to abortion in Ohio by outlawing abortion after the detection of fetal cardiac motion, which usually happens at six weeks of pregnancy, with very limited exceptions. On June 29, Ohio abortion providers, represented by the ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm WilmerHale, filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court to restore Ohioans’ reproductive rights secured by the Ohio Constitution.
On September 2, due to the ongoing irreparable harm to Ohioans, the reproductive rights organizations withdrew the lawsuit initially filed in the state Supreme Court in late June and instead asked the lower court to grant immediate relief blocking the ban. On October 7, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas granted a preliminary injunction (PI) against Senate Bill 23. Abortions up to 22 weeks LMP are now – again – legal in Ohio.
For a comprehensive look into the current legal battle against S.B. 23, as well as all active reproductive freedom lawsuits in Ohio, visit: Legal Landscape of Abortion in Ohio.
Athens – Decriminalization
- On November 21, 2022, the Athens City Council passed a resolution encouraging the mayor to deprioritize the enforcement of laws that criminalize access to safe reproductive healthcare procedures and services.
Akron – Official Declaration
- In June, 2022, Akron City Council passed a resolution re-affirming the Council’s support for reproductive freedom following the SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. JWHO. This resolution also expressed their opposition to Ohio’s abortion ban.
Bowling Green – Nondiscrimination
- The City Council in Bowling Green recently updated the city’s nondiscrimination clause to define sex to include any reproductive healthcare choices. This update protects people from discrimination for their reproductive healthcare decisions, including abortion.
Cincinnati – Funding, Challenging Abortion Bans in Court
- Mayor Aftab Pureval authorized the City Manager to take all necessary action required to amend the City of Cincinnati's health insurance plans to include coverage for elective abortion-related health services.
Columbus – Funding, Nondiscrimination, Decriminalization, Non-Prosecution, Challenging Abortion Bans in Court
- The City of Columbus approved a 3-bill package, which granted Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Ohio Women’s Alliance, and Abortion Fund of Ohio 1 million dollors in funding for practical support, granted Pro-Choice Ohio over 25 thousand dollars to research Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), and decriminalized criminal enforcement of abortion laws.
- In 2021, the City of Columbus passed an ordinance that says people cannot be fired or lose housing or other public accommodations because of a reproductive healthcare decision.
- City prosecutor, Zach Klein, signed this letter pledging to not prosecute abortion-related cases.
Cleveland – Decriminalization, Funding, Non-Prosecution, Challenging Abortion Bans in Court
- Cleveland Mayor Bibb authorized any investigation into and enforcement of criminal abortion-related charges to be the lowest priority for the use of City resources, including personnel, time, and funds. This rule applies to all employees in the City’s executive branch, including the police.
- The mayor directed the city’s chief prosecutor, Aqueelah Jordan to not move forward on abortion-related charges. Mike O’Mally, Cuyahoga County prosecutor, signed this letter pledging to not prosecute abortion-related cases.
- City of Cleveland set up the Reproductive Freedom Fund, which provides practical support funding for all city employees and Cleveland residents.
Dayton – Decriminalization, Official Declaration, Challenging Abortion Bans in Court
- Dayton City Commission passed an informal resolution to condemn the overturning of Roe v. Wade and to deprioritize enforcement of any state abortion bans.
Kent – Official Declaration
- Kent City Council issued a resolution calling the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade “an unprecedented subversion” of a person’s rights.
Lakewood – Decriminalization, Official Declaration
- Lakewood City Council passed a resolution opposing the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and called on the state to protect abortion rights via a constitutional amendment.
- The city council also passed legislation which directs the police and other city officials to not investigate, take complaints, or prosecute abortion-related cases.
South Euclid – Official Declaration
- South Euclid City Council approved a resolution affirming that people have the right to abortion and that people should be able to make personal decisions without the intervention of the government.
Toledo – Challenging Abortion Bans in Court
Yellow Springs – Decriminalization
- The Village of Yellow Springs passed a resolution declaring their intention to not enforce any state laws that criminalize abortion.
- Decriminalization: City leaders direct police/law enforcement to deprioritize any abortion-related incidents to the lowest priority of investigation. This helps mitigate the harm of abortion bans.
- Non–Discrimination: Amend city’s non-discrimination clause to include reproductive healthcare decisions. Ordinances like this could stop someone from being fired or losing their housing when they are forced to travel out of state to get abortion care.
- Funding: Allocate city funding to support abortion access (including transportation costs) for either city employees, city residents, or both.
- Official Declarations: Passed a resolution supporting abortion rights and reproductive freedom. Please note that many cities and leaders across the state have condemned attacks on reproductive freedom. This map specifically highlights official statements from city governments or resolutions passed by city councils that condemn any attacks on abortion access.
- Non-Prosecution: Prosecutors across Ohio can use their prosecutorial discretion when deciding which cases to move forward. This gives prosecutors the power to not act on any abortion-related cases. While this is a strong statement, the Attorney General has jurisdiction over the entire state and could still bring charges even if the local prosecutor does not.
- Challenging Abortion Bans in Court: Cities submitted briefs to the Supreme Court of Ohio on behalf of the ACLU of Ohio’s challenge to S.B. 23, Ohio’s 6-week abortion ban. (Please note this ban is currently blocked while litigation, now in lower courts, is ongoing. Visit Legal Landscape of Ohio for more information.)