Suit: Raped Minors, Cancer Patients Denied Abortions in Ohio

Judge extends pause on 'heartbeat' law
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2022 2:23 PM CDT
Lawsuit: 2 More Raped Ohio Minors Were Denied Abortions
Protesters rally at the Ohio Statehouse in support of abortion rights after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade on June 24, 2022.   (Barbara J. Perenic /The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)

A judge has extended a pause on Ohio's "heartbeat" law banning almost all abortions in the state. The law bans abortion after around five or six weeks—before many women know they're pregnant—and court filings in the case detailed its impact on women and girls in the state. In addition to the highly publicized case of 10-year-old rape victim who was forced to leave the state to have an abortion days after the law took effect in late June, in sworn affidavits, abortion providers said at least two other minor rape victims had left Ohio to have have abortions, the Ohio Capital Journal reports. The affidavits also described cases of women with cancer who weren't allowed to end their pregnancies but couldn't get cancer treatment while pregnant.

Sharon Liner, medical director of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, said in an affidavit that "we have had at least three patients threaten to commit suicide. Another patient said she would attempt to terminate her pregnancy by drinking bleach. Another asked how much Vitamin C she would need to take to terminate her pregnancy." She said 60% of patients in July had to be turned away because the initial ultrasound detected a heartbeat. Clinic workers said many women turned away were likely unable to travel out of the state for abortions because of issues including travel costs, child care, and getting time off work.

One minor who had been raped suffered "immense trauma" from the assault and was further traumatized by a police physical exam to collect evidence and a three-week wait to get an abortion in Michigan, Adarsh E. Krishen, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said in an affidavit. "In each step of this process she felt the complete denial of bodily autonomy and safety, something all people, especially children, should unequivocally have at all times." Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins paused the law Sept. 14 in response to a lawsuit from the ACLU. On Tuesday, he extended the pause until Oct. 12, allowing abortions until up to 20 weeks to continue, the AP reports. (More abortion stories.)

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