Texas’s and Ohio’s Supreme Courts have given the go-ahead for the states to enforce their respective state laws that ban abortion, blocking efforts that barred the laws from taking effect, coming after the U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Roe v. Wade had enabled abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy across the country for almost five decades. The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 sends regulation of the procedure back to states.
Abortions in Texas were already restricted under a law that took effect in September 2021, known as the Texas Heartbeat Act or Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8). Weems’s order had reassured some clinics they could temporarily resume abortions up to six weeks, which is roughly when a heartbeat is detectable in the unborn baby.
A later hearing on the case is scheduled for July 12.
Six-Week Abortion Restriction Continues in OhioOver in Ohio, the state’s top court on Friday denied (pdf) an emergency request by abortion providers to block the Ohio abortion ban, known as Senate Bill 23. The measure prohibits abortion after a detectable heartbeat in the unborn baby—about six weeks into pregnancy, which is when many women do not realize they are pregnant.
The court’s denial of the emergency stay means abortion providers are legally barred from carrying out the procedures after six weeks as litigation continues.
Ohio’s Senate Bill 23 was signed into law back in April 2019 by Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, before a federal judge blocked it from being enforced three months later. Due to the injunction, abortions in Ohio went back to an already existing law that largely barred abortion after 22 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger, or her health was affected.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe “represents a substantial change in the law, and abrogates the prior legal basis supporting this Court’s Order enjoining enforcement of the challenged law,” he said in a motion. Ohio would be “irreparably harmed” by any delay in dissolving the injunction, Yost had argued.
In a statement after the Ohio Supreme Court denied the emergency request, Yost said his office “will continue to defend Ohio’s duly enacted statutes and to advocate for the rule of law.”
“The Plaintiffs need to reconcile themselves to pursuing their policy goals through the political process, not the courts,” he added.
Since last week’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe, groups that believe abortion is a right have filed challenges against laws banning abortion in several states.