Ohio Supreme Court to hear arguments over a key question in the abortion ban lawsuit

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on a technical question involving the lawsuit that led to the state’s six-week abortion ban being put on hold in Hamilton County last year.

Protestors of Ohio's abortion ban outside the state capitol building
Opponents of the US Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion at the Ohio Statehouse in June 2022. [Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]
Doctors and clinics sued over the six-week ban on behalf of their patients. The Ohio Supreme Court will look at a narrow question: did they have standing to bring the lawsuit?

The doctors who brought the lawsuit told stories about patients who couldn’t get abortions last summer when the so called “heartbeat ban” was in place. That ban prevented abortion at the point fetal electronic cardiac activity could be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. One after one, the doctors testfied about patients who were near death before they could get an abortion. The court eventually put the ban on hold, saying it was too vague. And it has remained on hold for nearly a year now.

The question of third party standing has been raised in other states. And most courts, with the exception of Kentucky, have ruled providers have standing. If the court rules they don’t, it could make it harder for lawsuits over abortion restrictions in the future.

But the ultimate ruling will come on November 7 when voters decide whether abortion and reproductive rights should be enshrined in the state’s constitution.