‘Heartbeat Bill’ faces legal battle

Planned Parenthood challenges ban on abortions after heartbeat detected

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press | Planned Parenthood and Women’s Med Center of Dayton filed a lawsuit against Ohio last Thursday. The suit challenges Senate Bill 145, also known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Both groups claim in the suit that the bill is unconstitutional.

Planned Parenthood and Women’s Med Center of Dayton filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio at District Court in Columbus last Thursday. The lawsuit challenges Senate Bill 145, which would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected, stating that the bill is unconstitutional.

State Senator Kristina Roegner (R-Ohio) and State Representatives Ron Hood (R-Ohio) and Candice Keller (R-Ohio) introduced the bill, better known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” on Feb. 12. 

The “Heartbeat Bill” has been condemned by Planned Parenthood, who tweeted, “the unconstitutional six-week abortion ban highlights the misguided and dangerous priorities of our state legislators.”

The dilation and evacuation procedure, the most commonly utlized abortion procedure at planned parenthood outpatient facilities, commonly occurs within the second trimester (13-28 weeks) in which the fetus can be from 3.5-8 inches long.

It is described by the City of Cincinnati Network of Care surgical overview website as “a combination of vacuum aspiration, dilation, and curettage, and the use of surgical instruments (such as forceps).” 

“Since we live in America, Planned Parenthood does have the legal right to sue, but morally it is unacceptable,” first-year psychology major Elizabeth Greenop said. “The dilation and evacuation abortion procedure is horrific because the doctor takes forceps and rips off the baby’s limbs, which is something I cannot even fathom,” said Greenop.

Planned Parenthood argues the dilation and evacuation surgical procedure is the safest and sole method administered in their outpatient facilities. The alternative would be an expensive, riskier procedure which would include the patient going into induced labor in order to deliver the fetus.

The ban would only allow the procedure if it is vital in saving the woman’s life or preventing bodily harm.  If a doctor performs the procedure under any other circumstances, the doctor can be charged under a fourth-degree felony.

The bill does not make exceptions for cases in which a woman is raped. On Dec. 13, the bill passed the Ohio house and senate along party lines with only three Democrats voting for the bill in the house.

“If the passage of the law is not blocked by Planned Parenthood, I think it would be a good step for Pro-Lifers and give Ohio an opportunity to help women who are pregnant and in need as well as give the university an opportunity to help pregnant students,” Greenop said.

Attorney General David Yost has stated he will “vigorously defend” the law’s constitutional validity.

This is not the first time Planned Parenthood and the state of Ohio have faced each other in court. In 2016, Planned Parenthood sued the state of Ohio when then Attorney-General Mark DeWine claimed the Cincinnati clinic disposed of fetal tissue in landfills. DeWine found no evidence of this occurring and, in turn, settled with Planned Parenthood.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Senate Bill 145 is similar to the bill that was line itemed vetoed by former Governor John Kasich.  However, current Governor Mike DeWine said he would “absolutely” sign a “Heartbeat Bill” with no such veto if it arrived at his desk. Furthermore, the previous “Heartbeat Bill” passed both the house and senate when it was introduced in 2018.

By: Jabari Turner | Staff Writer