BAN ON ABORTION PROCEDURE
Ohio bans a safe abortion procedure.
While a lower court held that Ohio's 2000 ban on abortion procedures is unconstitutionally vague and has an impermissibly narrow exception to protect women's health, an appellate court overturned that decision and allowed enforcement of the law. Women's Med. Prof'l Corp. v. Taft, 162 F. Supp. 2d 929 (S.D. Ohio 2001), rev'd, Women's Prof'l Med. Corp. v. Taft, 353 F.3d 436 (6th Cir. 2003).
The U.S. Supreme Court previously held that a ban that has no exception to protect a woman's health and that bans more than one procedure places an undue burden on a woman's right to choose and is unconstitutional. Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).
Ohio's ban makes any abortion procedure that falls within a specific definition a felony, unless the procedure is necessary, in the physician's reasonable medical judgment, to preserve the life or health of a woman endangered by a "serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." Ohio Rev. Code. Ann. § 2919.151(B) (Enacted 2000). A "serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" is defined as "any medically diagnosed condition that so complicates a pregnancy as to directly or indirectly cause the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." Ohio Rev. Code. Ann. § 2919.151(A)(5) (Enacted 2000). The Sixth Circuit is the only circuit in the country to have upheld such a dangerously narrow health exception.
This law does not prohibit the suction curettage, the suction aspiration, or the dilation and evacuation abortion procedures. The woman, the "father" of the fetus if it was not conceived by rape, and the parent of the woman if she is under 18 may obtain monetary relief in a civil action. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 2305.114 (Enacted 2000), 2307.53 (Enacted 2000), 2919.151 (Enacted 2000).
In addition, a court held that Ohio's original ban on "dilation and extraction" abortion is unconstitutional and has permanently enjoined it. Women's Med. Prof'l Corp. v. Voinovich, 130 F.3d 187 (6th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 523 U.S. 1036 (1998). This law was repealed. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2919.15 (Enacted 1995; Repealed 2000).
There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law. The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health. In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure. Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.