Federal judge extends stay on Ohio heartbeat abortion ban

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge extended a temporary stay on Ohio’s 2019 "heartbeat"
abortion ban on Wednesday, saying he will delay a decision on whether to permanently block the law until
two intertwined abortion cases are decided.
U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett’s order means that enforcement of the law signed by Republican Gov.
Mike DeWine in April 2019 will remain on hold. Lawyers for Ohio abortion providers have asked Barrett to
block the law permanently.
The measure would prohibit abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early
as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. That fact has prompted opponents
to argue that it effectively banned the procedure. The measure was twice vetoed by then-Gov. John
Kasich, a Republican, before DeWine signed it.
Barrett wrote that he needs to see what happens in a case against a similar Tennessee law and in another
case pending against an Ohio law that banned abortions in cases in which a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis
is a factor in choosing the procedure.
In issuing his temporary injunction, Barrett concluded that the lawsuit against the Ohio heartbeat law
would certainly succeed because the ban places an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to
choose an abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb.