Abortion Law Status in Ohio
The OSMA Council and staff have received several inquiries since Friday’s Supreme Court decision regarding the current law, pending legislation and OSMA’s position and advocacy related to providing abortions in Ohio. Below is a summary of relevant information (as of June 28, 2022). We will continue to provide updated information as we receive it.
Current Status of Abortion Laws in Ohio:
On Friday the US Supreme Court released its decision in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v Wade and Casey and leaving the regulation of abortion to the states.
The same day Ohio Attorney General Yost asked and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio agreed to lift the preliminary injunction that had prevented Ohio’s “Heartbeat Bill”, passed in 2019, from going into effect.
As a result of these US Supreme Court and Federal District Court actions, Ohio’s “Heartbeat Bill”, SB 23 is now in effect. We have received questions from OSMA members regarding this new law. The Legislative Service Commission (LSC) has provided a detailed analysis outlining the different provisions in the law.
For example, an OSMA member asked, “How does the bill affect physician responses to ectopic pregnancies?” The law does not apply to this circumstance – the law only applies to intrauterine pregnancies.
Additionally, the Department of Health released an emergency rule on June 24th clarifying the Methods for Determining a Fetal Heartbeat.
Pending legislation and OSMA’s
position and advocacy:
In addition to the Heartbeat Bill, like several other states, Ohio is currently considering what is known as a trigger ban bill – HB 598 – that would be more restrictive than the Heartbeat Bill. HB 598 has had committee hearings and it is possible this bill will be considered during the fall legislative session. OSMA has already provided testimony on HB 598 raising significant concerns with multiple aspects of the bill including the criminalization of the practice of medicine and protecting the doctor/patient relationship.
This testimony and similar testimony provided during the debate on the Heartbeat bill is consistent with OSMA policy on abortion – it is the position of the OSMA that the issue of support or opposition to abortion is a matter for members of the OSMA to decide individually, based on personal values or beliefs – notwithstanding the OSMA opposes the criminalization of the practice of medicine and any attempt to alter the sanctity of the physician/patient relations.