Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio and other state abortion clinics filed suit in federal court on May 22 saying Senate Bill (SB) 23 (the heartbeat law) that makes abortion illegal once a heartbeat is detected (as early as six weeks), is unconstitutional. The court filing also seeks a stay of proceedings that would prevent the state law from taking effect pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
Sponsored by state Senator Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson, OH), SB 23 is one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bills since Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion legal nationwide.
Governor Mike DeWine signed the controversial fetal heartbeat bill into law on April 11.
Physicians who violate SB 23 by performing an abortion when a fetal heartbeat has been detected or performing an abortion without determining whether there is a heartbeat, face a fifth-degree felony that carries a potential penalty of six to 12 months behind bars, and a $2,500 fine. The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians opposed SB 23 arguing that the bill criminalizes the practice of evidence-based medicine and interferes with the patient-physician relationship.
Similar bills have been passed by state legislatures in six other states, including Kentucky, Mississippi, and Georgia, with courts blocking similar bills in North Dakota and Iowa.