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Ohio

Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

Ohio law restricts young women's access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that an earlier version of this law is constitutional.  Ohio v. Akron Ctr. for Reprod. Health, 497 U.S. 502 (1990).  In addition, a court held the 1998 amendments to this constitutional, but on appeal, the single-petition rule was found unconstitutional. Cincinnati Women's Services, Inc. v. Taft, 468 F.3d 361 (6th Cir. 2006).

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18 who is not married, not in the armed services, not employed or financially independent, or who is not otherwise independent from the care and control of her parents.

What is required - parental consent or parental notice?  Consent.

Who must give consent?  One parent.

Are there other trusted adults who may be notified instead?  No. 

What is the process for obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion unless the attending physician secures the written consent of one parent.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman's health is threatened?  No.  However, any person alleged to violate any provision of the law because of "immediate threat of serious risk to the life or physical health" of the young woman from her pregnancy necessitating an immediate abortion may raise it as an affirmative defense in any criminal, civil, or administrative hearing.

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?  The minor may obtain an abortion without parental consent by securing a court order stating that she is sufficiently mature and well informed enough to make her own decision or that an abortion is in her best interests.  At the hearing, the judge is required to hear evidence relating to the emotional development, maturity, intellect, and understanding of the young woman, and specifically inquire about the young woman's understanding of the possible physical and emotional complications of abortion and who she would contact if she experienced complications after the procedure.  The court must find clear and convincing evidence that the young woman is sufficiently mature and well-enough informed to make the decision.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  The United States Supreme Court held that an earlier version of this law is constitutional.  Ohio v. Akron Ctr. for Reprod. Health, 497 U.S. 502 (1990).  In addition, a court held that amendments to this law that were enacted in 1998 are constitutional.  Cincinnati Women's Services, Inc. v. Taft, 468 F.3d 361 (6th Cir. 2006).

Other information about the law:  An unemancipated young woman under 18 may only attempt to undergo the judicial-bypass procedure once during a pregnancy, even if, for example, her bypass is denied but then her circumstances change or new evidence is discovered.  Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2919.121 (Enacted 1998).  A court had previously declared this and other amendments to this law constitutional, but upon appeal, this single-petition rule was found unconstitutional   Cincinnati Women's Servs. v. Taft, 466 F.Supp.2d 934 (S.D. Ohio 2005); Cincinnati Women's Servs. v. Taft, 468 F.3d 361(6th Cir. 2006).

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 2151.85 (Enacted 1985), 2505.073 (Enacted 1985), 2919.12 (Enacted 1974; Last Amended 1995), 2919.121 (Enacted 1998; Last Amended 2011), .122 (Enacted 1998).


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