Thursday, September 23, 2004

Abortion pill law blocked in Ohio

Dlott ruling halts enforcement

The Associated Press

A federal judge issued a temporary injunction Wednesday barring the state of Ohio from enforcing legislation that would restrict access to a pill used to induce abortions.

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott ruled that plaintiffs - Planned Parenthood Cincinnati Region and some private practitioners - would likely prevail if the merits of their objection were argued.

The law, which would have gone into effect today, makes it a crime to provide mifepristone - the RU-486 pill - except in accordance with all provisions of federal law governing use of the pill.

"We're very pleased with the ruling. Judge Dlott did the right thing," said Cincinnati attorney Alphonse Gerhardstein, who represents some of the plaintiffs. "The state of Ohio should stop meddling with the basic delivery of medicine to women."

Dlott's ruling was issued near the close of business Wednesday. The Ohio attorney general's office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Three Planned Parenthood organizations in Ohio and Preterm, operator of a Cleveland health care clinic, argued in their lawsuit, filed in August, that the Ohio law contains no exception for allowing an abortion in cases where the woman's health or life is at risk.

The law infringes on a woman's right to choose abortion, would expose doctors to criminal prosecution for performing legal services and is unconstitutionally vague when referring to federal law, the lawsuit said.

"The protocol is grounded in the best science out there," Gerhardstein said. "What Ohio's trying to do is freeze the science on medical abortion at 1999."

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