Planned Parenthood Will Sue to Overturn Ohio Law Banning Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 12, 2019   |   10:12AM   |   Columbus, Ohio

Planned Parenthood is getting ready to sue Ohio so that it can continue to abort unborn babies after their heartbeats are detectable.

For months, the American Civil Liberties Union has said it will challenge the heartbeat legislation if it passes the Ohio legislature. On Wednesday, it did, and Gov. Mike DeWine signed the law Thursday.

Kersha Diebel, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, told WKRC Local 12 this week that they will join the ACLU’s lawsuit.

“This is a conservative effort across this state to not only ban abortion, but to put an attack on a woman’s body and choice at the end of the day,” Diebel said.

The heartbeat law prohibits abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Because many women do not even know they are pregnant at this early stage, the legislation could protect almost all unborn babies in Ohio. It is slated to go into effect in 90 days.

The lawsuit comes as no surprise, and state leaders said they will defend unborn babies’ right to life in court.

DeWine told the Dayton Daily News that he hopes the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will uphold the law. But he cautioned Ohioans to be prepared for lower courts to rule against it because of the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade.

“It’s important for everyone to have the right expectations and for those of us who hope that this law is upheld to fully to understand that we are not going to see that in the lower courts,” the governor said. “It ultimately is for the Supreme Court to decide.”

State Attorney General Dave Yost said his staff is preparing the defend the law in court.

“Sometimes, the evolution of the law requires bold steps,” he told Fox 45. “In the last 46 years, the practice of medicine has changed. Science has changed. Even the point of viability has changed. Only the law has lagged behind. This law provides a stable, objective standard to guide the courts.”

Though the court battle may be long, DeWine said it is worth it to protect unborn babies.

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“It is our duty I believe and it’s the essential function of government to protect those who can’t protect themselves, to protect those who are voiceless,” DeWine said.

If enacted, the bill could save thousands of unborn babies’ lives. The Ohio Department of Health reported 20,893 abortions in 2017 in the state.

However, abortion activists likely will succeed in blocking the law before the state can enforce it.

“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked,” said Freda Levenson with the ACLU of Ohio, previously.

This year, pro-life lawmakers have introduced a number of heartbeat bills including in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

Kentucky also passed a heartbeat law this year, but a federal judge already has blocked it.

Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.

There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider overturning Roe, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.