Ohio's Down Syndrome Abortion Ban Headed Back To Appeals Court

Dec 13, 2019

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to re-hear a case challenging Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion ban.

The new proceeding is known as an en banc hearing, meaning the case will be tried before all the judges on the appeals court bench.

Attorney General Dave Yost requested the new hearing after a three judge panel ruled in October that Ohio's ban was likely unconstitutional.

The order issued Friday vacates that earlier ruling. The parties will now submit new briefs, and the court will schedule a new round of oral arguments.

The Ohio law, signed by former Gov. John Kasich in 2017, outlawed abortions in cases where there was a positive test result or prenatal diagnosis indicating Down syndrome.

Physicians convicted of performing an abortion under such circumstances could be charged with a fourth-degree felony, stripped of their medical license and held liable for legal damages. Pregnant women would not be held criminally liable under the law.

On behalf of Planned Parenthood and several abortion providers, the ACLU sued the Ohio Department of Health, the state medical board and county prosecutors to block the law.

Ohio Right To Life has argued the ban protects against discrimination.

A federal judge put the abortion restriction on hold in March 2018, pending the findings of the case, saying that opponents were "highly likely" to find the law unconstitutional.