(BrightPress.org) – Officials in Ohio requested the state’s Supreme Court allow a ban on abortions after 6 weeks to remain in effect until a referendum enshrining the right to abortion is voted on in the state in November.
The arguments before the court will primarily discuss procedural questions and will not ultimately decide the fate of abortion in Ohio; nonetheless, any decision that revives the ban may also revive pro-abortion activists in the run-up to next month’s vote.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed the bill in 2019 banning abortion at 6 weeks which is around the time one can detect a fetal heartbeat. Abortion advocates argue many women don’t realize they are pregnant at 6 weeks. The law was automatically enacted once the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade last year.
Ohio courts have issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the law. Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers argued on Wednesday, September 25th to have the injunction overturned and the law implemented until such a time as voters can weigh in.
Flowers said that “irreparable harm” with no possibility for later remedy exists as long as the injunction is in effect. Lawyer for abortion clinics Jessie Hill argued that the established precedent in Ohio is such that the state cannot appeal preliminary orders prior to there being a final judgment in the case.
A state judge from Cincinnati approved the injunction while he weighed the case brought by several abortion providers including Planned Parenthood. An appeals court refused to hear the state’s argument on reversing the preliminary injunction, citing precedent.
The Supreme Court was then asked to weigh in. With a 4-3 Republican majority, there’s a slim shot they could side with the state. Flowers is arguing that abortion providers cannot sue on behalf of patients, making the entire case null regardless of merits. Hill countered that providers are in a better position to sue than patients due to having funding available for legal pursuits.
The court has given no indication of which way it will rule, but a win for the state and anti-abortion activists now could cost them the vote on the referendum in November.
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