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Government and Politics


Will Ohio abortion law go the way of Wisconsin?
Pro-choice advocates see positives in ruling by a federal judge in Wisconsin.
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
In The Region:
A federal judge in Wisconsin today extended his restraining order that prevents a strict new abortion law from taking effect in in that state. Wisconsin's law has similarities to a new abortion law in Ohio, signed by Governor Kasich June 30. The Wisconsin ruling gives some pro-choice advocates hope that the Ohio law won’t stand.
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U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a temporary restraining order earlier this month in a ruling that referenced a 1983 Akron case. He wrote that there was a “lack of justification” for a requirement that abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges. He added "the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement."    

Ohio also requires abortion providers to have a transfer agreement with a hospita. But the new wrinkle is it also bans public hospitals from entering such agreements.

Pro-choice advocates in Ohio are considering a challenge to the Ohio law, which was inserted into a budget bill and does not take effect until the end of September. The head of NARAL Pro Choice Ohio, Kellie Copeland says it’s unclear whether Conley’s ruling could influence a federal judge in Ohio but she is optimistic.

“Closing clinics through red tape is an undue burden on women who can’t access the medical care they need and treating doctors who provide abortion care differently than other doctors may also raise constitutional issues so it does give us hope.”

Copeland says NARAL probably won’t be the plaintiff to challenge Ohio’s law and she expects there could be several challengers, including doctors.  The Washington Post reports abortion opponents around the county are hoping one of the many new abortion laws passed this year will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The non-profit Guttmacher Institute, which follows abortion and birth control statistics, says eight states now have similar laws. Two have been struck down, one has been upheld.

Judge Conley has set a November date for a trial on the Wisconsin law.


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