Ohio Attorney General prepared to ‘vigorously’ defend new abortion law

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Attorney General David Yost says the state will “vigorously” defend Ohio’s restrictive abortion law from a court challenge.

Planned Parenthood and Ohio abortion clinics sued Wednesday to prevent the law from taking effect. They argue it is unconstitutional and would prohibit nearly all abortions in Ohio.

Yost argues the law is objective because it sets the standard at when a doctor can hear a heartbeat, instead of viability.

Doctors say a detectable heartbeat can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant.

The legal challenge was expected by the law’s backers, who are using it as part of a national anti-abortion strategy to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Columbus, asks for a temporary and then permanent ban on the law taking effect, and to have it declared unconstitutional.

Ohio State University law professor Marc Spindelman says the court challenge in Ohio joins numerous other similar abortion-related court cases on a possible track to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Ultimately the question’s going to be whether the Supreme Court takes a look at its earlier decisions and modifies them in any way that will create breathing room for a law like the heartbeat bill,” Spindelman said.

Spindelman says most court observers believe the Supreme Court is more likely to consider abortion-restriction cases like the heartbeat bill rather than the total abortion ban adopted this week in Alabama. “It’s quite a sweeping measure and so would require the court to take, in a sense, a much bigger bite out of its own existing case law than would other types of measures that would allow the court to sort of change the rules slowly and incrementally,” Spindelman said.

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