ACLU challenges Ohio’s down syndrome abortion law


The ACLU has launched a legal challenge against Ohio’s new down syndrome abortion legislation, which prohibits doctors from aborting pregnancies purely on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

The ACLU suit was filed on Thursday in a Federal court in Cincinnati on behalf of Preterm in Cleveland, Planned Parenthood and other Ohio abortion providers. "The government cannot deny a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy pre-viability," ACLU legal director Freda Levenson said at a news conference in Columbus announcing the suit.

Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the law in December, and it is scheduled to take effect on March 23. The ACLU has requested both a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction against the law to keep it from taking effect.

Ohio Right to Life, the state’s oldest pro-life organisation, has dismissed the lawsuit as a political stunt. “[The ACLU’s] blatant and continuous attacks on the dignity and sanctity of human life make it clear that they do not care for the youngest of each new generation: the unborn”, said Mike Gonidakis, the group’s president.

Similar laws have already made their passage through the legislatures of Indiana and North Dakota.

The Indiana law, enacted in 2016, has been blocked by a federal judge, who said the state has no right to limit women's reasons for terminating pregnancies. The state has appealed.

North Dakota's law went into effect in 2013 and has not been challenged.




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