Judge hears arguments whether to issue preliminary injunction against Ohio’s Heartbeat Law

By Dave Andrusko

Having twice extended the temporary restraining order that blocked Ohio’s Heartbeat Law, Senate Bill 23, from going in effect, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins heard oral arguments today “and will decide whether to extend that pause throughout the course of the lawsuit, which may take years,” The Associated Press’ Julie Carr Smyth reported.

Pro-life Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill in April 2019. It finally went into effect after the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022.

Today attorneys will “explain whether Jenkins should grant a preliminary injunction, which could indefinitely block state law banning doctors from performing abortions after cardiac activity is detected,” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jessie Balmert reported.

A group of abortion clinics represented by the ACLU of Ohio “has challenged the state law banning most abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected on grounds it violates provisions of the state constitution guaranteeing individual liberty and equal protection. It also says the law is unconstitutionally vague,” according to Smyth.

“On Sept. 15, Jenkins, a Democrat, temporarily blocked Ohio’s six-week abortion ban for 14 days, the maximum length of time allowed,” Balmert wrote. “The temporary restraining order can be extended once for a maximum of 14 days.”

Hours after the June 24th decision by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade a federal judges said SB23 could go into immediate effect. Pro-abortionists filed first with the Ohio Supreme, but changed course “and refiled it in Hamilton County on Sept. 3 after the Supreme Court declined to immediately act,” Andrew J. Tobias, of Cleveland.com reported.

Judge Jenkins’ sentiments are not in question. Tobias wrote

Jenkins has indicated he plans to rule in favor of abortion advocates, agreeing with their arguments that equal-protection guarantees contained in Ohio’s constitution covers the right to obtain an abortion. He noted a 1993 decision from a state appellate court that found the Ohio Constitution confers greater abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution, including a broad scope of the meaning of “liberty.”

Whichever side prevails, there will be an appeal. The case will likely first be heard by the First District Court of Appeals and then the Ohio Supreme Court.

Mike Gonidakis, Ohio Right to Life’s executive director, “accused plaintiffs in the case of forum shopping,” Tobias reported. He said the case likely will take months to resolve.

“I’ve read the Ohio Constitution like I’ve read the U.S. Constitution, and nowhere in there is there a guaranteed right to abortion,” he said.