Abortion Restrictions Written Into State Budget; ACLU Sues Ohio Officials

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The American Civil Liberties Union’s Ohio branch has filed suit against to challenge House Bill 59, which included three state budget amendments that relate to abortion. The amendments call for abortion service providers to inform pregnant women who are seeking an abortion of the fetus’ heartbeat, if detectable, as well as notify the women of the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to term based on gestational age. According to the ACLU, the amendments also prevent hospitals from making transfers to public hospitals when women are in need of emergency care while creating a program that provides state funding to private groups that are forbidden from discussing abortion services.

Filed on behalf of a Cleveland women’s health clinic, the lawsuit argues that the bill violates the “single subject rule,” a constitutional provision that prohibits bills from having more than one subject, which must be clearly expressed in the bill’s title. he ACLU argues that abortions are not relevant to a state budget bill.

The current bill is one of several that abortion-related bills Ohio governor, John Kasich, has recently signed. Signed only a few months after Kasich entered office, House Bill 63, which prohibits minors from receiving abortions. The bill allows an exception in cases in which there is clear and convincing evidence that having an abortion would be in the patient’s best interest. The governor also signed into law a bill, which bans abortions for pregnancies that are past the 20 week mark; the bill also requires doctors to check for viability of the fetus outside the mother’s body. If the fetus is viable, the patient would only be allowed to have an abortion if her she would otherwise face death or substantial impairment of a major bodily function in the absence of having the abortion. The signing of the fetus viability bill followed a decision in which the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio upheld limitations on administration of the abortion pill.

 

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