Ohio law banning nearly all abortions now invalid after referendum, attorney general says

Apr 1, 2024, 1:52 PM

A 2019 law banning most abortions in Ohio is unconstitutional following an abortion referendum last year, the state’s Republican attorney general said in a court filing Monday.

The filing comes after abortion clinics asked a Hamilton County judge to throw out the law since Ohio voters decided to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution last November.

They argue that under the new constitutional amendment, the law, which bans most abortions once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, is invalid. Attorney General Dave Yost, for the most part, agreed.

However, the attorney general asked the court to only strike down the “core prohibition” of the law — banning abortions after six weeks — and let other portions remain. These include requiring a doctor to check for a heartbeat and inform a patient, as well as documenting the reason someone is having an abortion. Yost said in the filing that the plaintiffs have not demonstrated how such provisions violate the constitutional amendment.

The state “respects the will of the people,” a spokesperson for Yost’s office said in an email, but is also obligated to prevent overreach and protect parts of the law the amendment doesn’t address.

Freda Levenson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, called the continued litigation “quibbling about extraneous matters” in an emailed statement, and disagreed that such issues have ever been a problem before in this case.

“This case should be over. Stick a fork in it,” she said in the statement.

The law signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in April 2019 prohibited most abortions after the first detectable “fetal heartbeat.” Cardiac activity can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.

The ban, initially blocked through a federal legal challenge, briefly went into effect when the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was overturned in 2022. It was then placed back on hold in county court, as part of a subsequent lawsuit challenging it as unconstitutional under the Ohio Constitution, eventually reaching the state Supreme Court.

In December 2023, the state’s highest court dismissed an appeal brought by Yost’s office ” due to a change in the law.” This sent the case back to the lower courts, where it now resides.

The case now awaits a decision by Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins.


Samantha Hendrickson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

United States News

Associated Press

Kevin Bacon dances back to “Footloose” high school

PAYSON, Utah (AP) — Actor Kevin Bacon on Saturday returned to the Utah high school where the cult classic movie “Footloose” was filmed more than 40 years. Bacon danced his way to a stage on a Payson High School athletic field Saturday to greet students before what likely was the final prom held at the […]

15 hours ago

Associated Press

Arkansas teen held on murder charge after fatal shooting outside party after high school prom

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas teen is in custody on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the fatal shooting of a high school senior outside a party early Sunday following a high school prom. Donterious Stephens, 19, of Helena, turned himself in to authorities Sunday afternoon in the shooting death of Lorenzo […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Terry Anderson, AP reporter held captive for years, has died

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Terry Anderson, the globe-trotting Associated Press correspondent who became one of America’s longest-held hostages after he was snatched from a street in war-torn Lebanon in 1985 and held for nearly seven years, has died at 76. Anderson, who chronicled his abduction and torturous imprisonment by Islamic militants in his best-selling 1993 […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Suspect in killing of Idaho sheriff’s deputy fatally shot by police, authorities say

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho sheriff’s deputy died after being shot by a driver during a traffic stop, and a man believed to be the shooting suspect was later fatally shot by police, authorities said Sunday. Deputy Tobin Bolter was shot as he approached the driver’s window at about 9 p.m. Saturday in Boise, […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

Woman, 18, dies after being shot at Delaware State University; campus closed

DOVER, Del. (AP) — An 18-year-old woman died after she was shot on the campus of Delaware State University on Sunday, authorities said. Dover police said officers responded at about 1:40 a.m. to a report of shots on the campus. Police said an 18-year-old Wilmington woman who was not a registered student was found with […]

20 hours ago

Associated Press

North Carolina medical marijuana sales begin at Cherokee store

CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) — Medical marijuana can now be legally purchased in North Carolina with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opening its long-planned dispensary this weekend on tribal land. Hundreds of people, many with approved medical patient cards to purchase items, celebrated the historic opening of the Great Smoky Cannabis Co. on Saturday within […]

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Ohio law banning nearly all abortions now invalid after referendum, attorney general says