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Advocates on both sides react to judge's decision ordering a 14-day stay on Ohio's 'heartbeat law'

A large balloon in support of the Heartbeat Bill flies outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, in June 2012. More than four years later, the measure, which would ban abortions as soon as six weeks after conception, has passed the Legislature — after being folded into a widely supported child abuse bill.
Ann Sanner
/
AP
A large balloon in support of the Heartbeat Bill flies outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, in June 2012. More than four years later, the measure, which would ban abortions as soon as six weeks after conception, has passed the Legislature — after being folded into a widely supported child abuse bill.

Reaction is strong on both sides of the abortion issue after a Hamilton County Judge issued a 14-day stay on the state’s so-called "heartbeat law."

The law that went into effect in late June following the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the Roe v Wade decision bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected. Normally that happens six weeks into a pregnancy.

Abortion providers in Ohio are preparing to care for patients, at least for the next two weeks, for pregnancies up to 20 weeks in gestation.

"The news out of Hamilton (County) is fantastic news for our patients and for folks across the state,” said Leah Mallinos, a patient navigator with Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. “Any day that we can provide access is a good day for patients and for us in the abortion care world."

Mallinos recognizes however, that the changes could be short-term.

"Since it is only for 14 days, we do want to ensure that we are maximizing access for folks across the state and to avoid having to travel across state lines just to obtain their health care,” said Mallinos. “So our teams are working very quickly, especially this morning, to pivot with the new ruling that came out yesterday afternoon."

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio had already planned a virtual event Thursday evening to unveil new financial, emotional, and practical support programs for Ohioans needing to leave the state for abortion care.

"For folks that do have to leave the state, some of the major concerns have been being able to afford the transportation costs of getting to a receiving clinic out of state, depending on the type of care they're receiving or the distance that they're traveling. It may also require an overnight stay, which increases the costs," said Mallinos.

Ohio’s Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis issued a statement following the ruling on the 14-day stay. He called the action by abortion supporters who took their case to Hamilton County “forum shopping.” He also states he is more than confident that in the near future Ohio will become abortion free.

“Nowhere in the Ohio Constitution or anywhere in the Ohio Revised Code will any Ohioan find supporting evidence that Ohio's current heartbeat law is anything other than good law which saves lives.” wrote Gonidakis.
Copyright 2022 WOSU 89.7 NPR News. To see more, visit WOSU 89.7 NPR News.

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.