Feb 14, 2019
Feb 14, 2019
Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of abortion providers challenging SB 145, an Ohio law that bans dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, the safest and most commonly used method of ending a pregnancy in the second trimester. Physicians who perform D&E abortions face severe criminal and civil penalties.
Plaintiffs allege that the ban will expose patients to the risk of undergoing an additional invasive procedure, primarily the injection of a medication called digoxin which published data show is medically unnecessary and provides no medical benefit, and which carries health risks for the pregnant patient.
According to Plaintiffs, the D&E ban violates their constitutional rights. Specifically, the ban “imposes an undue burden on women seeking abortions after approximately 15 weeks of pregnancy. In addition, to the extent that physicians can continue performing D&E procedures by causing fetal demise prior to evacuation, the D&E Ban violates Plaintiffs’ patients’ right both to choose abortion and to bodily integrity by requiring them to undergo an additional, unnecessary, and invasive medical procedure that provides no attendant benefit in order to access abortion.”
Plaintiffs further allege that the law violates their 14th Amendment due process rights to bodily integrity and privacy.
On March 22, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Barrett blocked the law, and on April 18, he granted a preliminary injunction pending trial on the merits, ruling that the law imposes an undue burden to a large fraction of pregnant women seeking a pre-viability second, trimester abortion.
Both the TRO and the injunction block prosecution under the following circumstances:
1. Where a physician performs D&E procedure before 18 weeks LMP;
2. Where, during the course of a D&E procedure, a physician accidentally removes fetal parts when intending to comply with demise requirements;
3. Where a physician performs a D&E procedure after an attempted demise procedure fails;
4. Where a physician performs a D&E procedure without demise after making a medical determination that a given patient is not a candidate for a demise procedure, either because a procedure is contraindicated or medically impossible for that patient.
Since the law already permits a D&E procedure “in reasonable medical judgment [of the physician], to preserve the life or physical health of the mother as a result of the mother’s life or physical health being endangered by a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” those circumstances are not covered by the injunction.
**last updated April 19, 2019