The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm WilmerHale filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court today seeking to block the state’s six-week ban on abortion.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the federal constitutional right to abortion, a federal judge in Ohio granted the State’s request to allow the previously blocked six-week abortion ban, Senate Bill 23, to take effect.

The group says  Senate Bill 23 radically restricts access to abortion in Ohio by lowering the gestational age limit from 22 weeks to approximately six weeks, with very limited exceptions. A violation of this law by a provider is a fifth-degree felony.

“This sweeping measure, which prevents nearly every pregnant person from accessing essential care, is blatantly unconstitutional under Ohio’s state constitution which has broad protections for individual liberties. We ask the Ohio Supreme Court to stop enforcement of Senate Bill 23. Absent action from the court, many Ohioans will be forced to give birth against their will, many will have illegal or dangerous abortions, and some will die. People of color and low-income communities, who comprise the majority of patients seeking abortions, will be disproportionately impacted. We’ll keep fighting for abortion rights until every Ohioan is able to access the healthcare they need,” noted Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

“It has been just over three days since the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, and four days since Ohioans had their right to abortion stripped away, and limited to just six weeks of pregnancy,” said Iris Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio and Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio. “It’s hard not to lose hope in a moment like this. But we need to keep going, to fight for Ohioans to get the healthcare they need and deserve when they need it — and Planned Parenthood will be right with you in that fight. Let’s get to work.”

“Right now, Ohio patients seeking care beyond six weeks are forced to travel hundreds of miles to access abortion, carry pregnancies to term against their will, or seek care outside the medical system. Senate Bill 23 was blocked for nearly three years, and after being in effect for just a few days, the real-world ramifications are horrific. This law must be stopped,” offered Jessie Hill, cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Ohio.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs is disastrous and devastating for tens of millions of patients across the country,” said Meagan Burrows, Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “But it hardly gives states like Ohio a free pass from abiding by their own constitutions. We are committed to protecting as many people as possible from the traumatic experience of forced pregnancy, the consequences of which can last an entire lifetime and put the health and lives of everyday Ohioans at risk. With this filing, we are calling for the return of the basic humanity that was stolen.”  

The plaintiffs are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to order state officials not to enforce S.B. 23 and to declare the ban unconstitutional.