By Marc Kovac
A Cleveland abortion clinic has filed suit against the state challenging abortion restrictions signed into law by Gov. John Kasich earlier this year.
Preterm-Cleveland Inc. is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and other legal counsel in the filing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
The plaintiff is hoping to overturn provisions added to the state budget that require a fetal heartbeat check and consent statement before performing an abortion, block funding for Planned Parenthood and ban transfer agreements between hospitals and abortion clinics.
“Every day, we see families facing deeply personal decisions, and I can tell you that they don’t need nor want politicians in the middle of those decisions,” Chrisse France, executive director of the clinic, said in a released statement. “I can also tell you that these amendments have nothing to do with helping those families.”
The basis of the challenge is the state’s single-subject rule, a constitutional requirement that legislation pertain to one subject. The abortion amendments, the suit alleges, have nothing to do with budget matters.
“To put it simply, none of these amendments have any place in the state budget bill,” Susan Scheutzow, ACLU cooperating attorney, said in a released statement. “This massive bill is not intended to deal with new policy; the single subject of the budget should be the appropriation of funds for existing government programs or obligations.”
Kasich, the Ohio Department of Health and members of the state medical board are among the defendants named in the suit.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, which was not named in the suit but which supports the abortion-law changes, said the lawsuit “contradicts itself.”
“On the one hand, the ACLU claims the budget ‘should be’ for appropriating funds, and on the other hand, they claim that they do not like how the funds are appropriated,” he said in a released statement. “By their own admission, this so-called lawsuit is all about abortion-on-demand. It has nothing to do with the Ohio Constitution. This is nothing more than a pro-abortion legal stunt by the ACLU, which ultimately will cost Ohio taxpayers significantly. In the end, all three of these pro-life laws will be upheld by the courts.”