by Steven Ertelt
February 2, 2006
Cincinnati, OH (LifeNews.com) — An Ohio abortion law that requires abortion practitioners to make sure they tell women about abortion’s risks and alternatives and requires teens to get their parents permission for an abortion received a hearing in a federal appeals court on Wednesday.
Attorneys for the abortion businesses suing to overturn the law told judges on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to declare the law unconstitutional because they claim it poses an "undue burden" on a woman getting an abortion.
Ohio lawmakers approved the measure in 1998 and it has been tied up in courts ever since thanks to pro-abortion lawsuits. The appeals court ruling is expected later this year.
The law was finally scheduled to go into effect in September when U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith declared the law constitutional but the 6th Circuit granted the abortion businesses a temporary stay until it could hear their case.
State officials told the appeals court judges that the Supreme Court has granted states the right to regulate abortions and has upheld similar laws.
Assistant Attorney General Diane Brey told the court that pro-abortion claims that somehow the law would hurt poor women or teenagers was "too speculative and too vague," according to a Cincinnati Enquirer news report.
Al Gerhardstein, a lawyer for the Cincinnati Women’s Services abortion center disagreed and also argued against a provision in the law allowing minors to get a judicial bypass only one time.
The three judge panel that held the hearing queried Brey about that provision and appeared to be concerned about it.
"It is kind of counterintuitive," Judge John Rogers said, according to the Cincinnati paper. "Situations do change."
Previously, Debi Jackson of Cincinnati Women’s Services said her abortion business would have to close as a result of the new law. There was no word on whether it would stop performing abortions during the appeal. state1213.html
Pro-life groups say the new law is important and helps women and teens.
“The portion [of the law] dealing with in-person meetings with a physician 24 hours before the procedure will give a woman more information with which to make a decision,” Mark Lally, legislative director for Ohio Right to Life, told the Toledo Blade.
“Being able to ask questions, rather than get a prerecorded message over the phone, brings the process of informed consent more in line with the standard informed consent in place for other medical procedures,” he said.
“We believe that the more information with which to make a decision before actually being in the room to have the abortion, the greater the chance she might decide to pursue other options,” he said.
Abortions in Ohio declined 15 percent from 41,673 to 35,319 from 1993-2003, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Pro-life lawmakers approved the new law to reduce abortions further.