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The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood, and the law firm, Gerhardstein & Branch Co. LPA, filed a lawsuit on behalf of abortion providers challenging SB 23, a near-total abortion ban which criminalizes abortion once a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected.

Electrical activity in a developing embryo can usually be detected by an ultrasound as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. If SB 23 were to take effect, most abortions in the state would be prohibited.

Plaintiffs allege that by prohibiting abortion prior to viability, the ban violates Ohioans’ rights to privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiffs further allege that patients would be subject to irreparable harm if the ban were to take effect.


7/3/19 – U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett issued a preliminary injunction blocking the near-total abortion ban. According to the order, SB 23 places an “undue burden” on a patient’s right to choose a pre-viability abortion, thus violating their Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Key Documents

Complaint – 5/15/19

Motion for TRO – 5/15/19

Order Granting TRO – 7/3/19