COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A federal court in Cincinnati will hear complex legal arguments for and against Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion ban-a case viewed as pivotal in the national debate over the procedure.
Attorneys for the government contend in legal filings that the sidelined 2017 law does not infringe on a woman’s constitutional rights – because it “does not prohibit any abortions at all.”
That was certainly not how the measure’s proponents in the Ohio Legislature saw it, said one backer.
“I’m of the mind that it certainly does prevent abortions,” said state Rep. Candice Keller, a Republican abortion opponent.
The Ohio law prohibits physicians from performing an abortion if they’re aware that a diagnosis of Down syndrome, or the possibility, is influencing the decision. Those who defy the ban would face a fourth-degree felony charge, be stripped of their medical license and be held liable for legal damages.
The pregnant woman faces no criminal liability under the law.
This and similar proposals around the country have triggered emotional debate over women’s rights, parental love, and the trust between doctor and patient.
The state and federal government will argue during a hearing today before the entire U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.