Abortion clinics in Ohio are trying to stop a state law from going into effect next month that prohibits a woman from having an abortion based on a Down syndrome diagnosis of the fetus.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed the lawsuit this week in federal court on behalf of several abortion providers, saying the new law violates a woman’s right to an abortion and privacy.
Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the measure into law in December, making it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion if they know a woman is having the procedure because of the Down syndrome diagnosis. Doctors would also lose their medical license, but the women wouldn’t face any criminal penalties.
“Banning a woman from having an abortion because of a fetal diagnosis is not only unconstitutional, it also does absolutely nothing to address discrimination against people with disabilities,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.
She said if Ohio wants to protect people with disabilities, it should provide more access to other services such as education and health care.
“This ban is just a thinly veiled attempt to criminalize abortion in Ohio,” Ms. Levenson said.
Mr. Kasich’s office did not immediately responded to a request for comment, but the Ohio Attorney General’s office said they are prepared to defend their client in court.
The defendants listed on the complaint include: Ohio’s Health Department director, four county prosecutors and two members of the state medical board.
The ACLU is representing Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Preterm, Dr. Roslyn Kade and the Women’s Medical Group Professional Corporation.
According to Reuters, North Dakota and Indiana have laws like Ohio’s, but Indiana’s has been blocked by a court issued injunction.