Heartbeat Bill: Ohio Supreme Court denies emergency stay of abortion law

Gov. Mike DeWine speaks before signing a bill imposing one of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, Thursday, April 11, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. DeWine's signature makes Ohio the fifth state to ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat. That can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant.

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Gov. Mike DeWine speaks before signing a bill imposing one of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, Thursday, April 11, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. DeWine's signature makes Ohio the fifth state to ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat. That can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant.

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday denied a request for an emergency stay on enforcing Ohio’s “Heartbeat Bill,” which bans abortion after five or six weeks’ gestation.

The court issued a two-sentence order Friday morning, signed by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, only two days after a lawsuit was filed seeking to stop the bill.

“This cause originated in this court on the filing of a complaint for a writ of mandamus,” it says. “Upon consideration of relators’ motion for an emergency stay, it ordered by the court that the motion is denied.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed suit Wednesday in the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of Ohio’s six abortion clinics and one doctor, seeking an injunction to again block implementation of Senate Bill 23, which outlaws abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable. Those clinics include the Women’s Med Center of Dayton and the Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio clinic in Cincinnati; the doctor is Sharon Liner, medical director for the Cincinnati clinic.

Senate Bill 23 became law in 2019 but swiftly blocked by a federal judge. That injunction, however, was lifted June 24 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Also on Wednesday the Ohio Supreme Court ordered named defendants in the Ohio case – Yost, state health officials and prosecutors in counties that are home to abortion clinics – to file responses to the suit no later than noon Thursday.

Yost filed a response opposing the stay. Two of the affected county prosecutors, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley and Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack, said in their filings they did not oppose granting a stay on SB 23.

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