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Ohio Sixth Week Abortion Ban Stands, Top Court Denies Stay (1)

July 1, 2022, 3:55 PMUpdated: July 1, 2022, 8:31 PM

Ohio’s highest court denied an emergency motion from abortion providers on Friday, keeping in place the state’s law prohibiting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

The two-sentence ruling, signed only by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, means that Ohio’s “heartbeat bill” remains the legal standard, prohibiting abortions once doctors can detect fetal heart activity—something that occurs usually around six weeks of pregnancy.

The court denied the motion without elaboration.

The ruling is a blow to a group of abortion providers which on Wednesday sought immediate action from the state’s highest tribunal.

The clinics argue that provisions in the Ohio Constitution provide the right to abortion and the state must revert back to its former gestational age limit of 22 weeks from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period—the standard prior to the US Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned federal abortion rights.

“We will continue to defend Ohio’s duly enacted statutes and to advocate for the rule of law,” Attorney General Dave Yost (R) said in a statement. “The plaintiffs need to reconcile themselves to pursuing their policy goals through the political process, not the courts.”

Attorneys for the clinics didn’t immediate respond to requests for comment.

The case is State ex rel. Preterm-Cleveland, et al. v. Yost, et al., Ohio, No. 2022-0803, preliminary injunction denied 7/1/22.

(Adds comment from attorney general in paragraph five. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ebert in Madison, Wisconsin at aebert@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com