Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Federal Judge Blocks Implementation of Ohio's Heartbeat Bill, Says It's Unconstitutional

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 3:17 PM

  • Bill Sponsor State Rep. Christina Hagan, Ohio House of Representatives

A federal judge has blocked the implementation of S.B. 32, otherwise known as Ohio's heartbeat bill, saying that it violates a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. The ACLU and women's health clinics throughout Ohio had sued the state.

Citing a variety of factors, most notably that many women do not even know they are pregnant at the six-week mark when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, along with the various hoops, both logistical and lawful, that a woman must jump through to even have an abortion, and that the six-week cutoff amounts to a ban on almost 90% of abortions, Judge Michael Barrett concluded: "This Court concludes that S.B. 23 places an “undue burden” on a woman’s right
to choose a pre-viability abortion, and, under Casey, Plaintiffs are certain to succeed on the merits of their claim. To the extent that the State of Ohio “is making a deliberate effort to overturn Roe [v.Wade] and established constitutional precedent,” see Jackson Women’s Health, 349 F. Supp. 3d at 544, those arguments must be made to a higher court."

Proponents of the bill had expected this, and as Ohio and other GOP-led states pass similar legislation, they eagerly await a battle in that higher court.

The injunction prevents the bill from going into effect, which it was slated to do on July 11. (Read the full ruling here.)

Courts have struck down similar heartbeat laws in other states, including North Dakota and Iowa, as recently as January. Federal courts have declared the laws violate the constitution.

"Ultimately, this will work its way up to the United States Supreme Court," Governor Mike DeWine told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier this year. "And they’ll make that decision.”

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 29, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation