A federal judge has stopped Ohio’s controversial six-week abortion ban from taking effect, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett, who is based in Cincinnati, issued a 12-page order to halt implementation of the law, noting the burden it places on those seeking the procedure.
“This court concludes that SB 23 places an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to choose a pre-viability abortion, and...plaintiffs are certain to succeed on the merits of their claim,” wrote Barrett in his injunction order. “The law is well settled that women possess a fundamental constitutional right of access to abortion.”
Ohio law SB 23, which bans abortions after six weeks, is one of many similar laws around the country. It was passed in April, after successfully making it through the state’s Republican-majority General Assembly; it was signed the next day by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine. Doctors who performed abortions would be subject to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine; there are no exceptions for rape or incest, though the procedure would be legal to save the mother’s life.
Barrett noted that many women do not even know they are pregnant at six weeks. “A woman with irregular periods likely will be denied the opportunity to seek an abortion altogether because she will not realize that she is pregnant in time to choose her fate,” reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The decision was lauded by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s deputy director, Jaime Miracle. In a statement, she said, “The most important thing that Ohioans need to know is that abortion access is available in Ohio. When a person has decided to have an abortion, they should be able to access that care safely, affordably, in their community, with support and respect, not shame or pressure,” reports the Columbus Dispatch.