Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Thursday that he will be appealing Judge Timothy Black’s injunction blocking the state’s ban on abortions performed solely due to a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
"I strongly disagree with the district court's ruling that there is a categorical right to abortion that prevents even any consideration of Ohio's profound interests in combating discrimination against a class of human beings based upon disability," DeWine said in a statement. "We will be appealing."
The law would’ve taken effect March 23 and makes performing abortions solely on the basis of Down Syndrome a fourth-degree felony.
Judge Black granted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood a preliminary injunction against the law after they sued in February arguing that the law unconstitutionally restricts abortion access.
“The State cannot dictate what factors a woman is permitted to consider in making her choice,” Judge Black wrote. “The State’s attempt to carve out exceptions to a categorical right where none exist fails as a matter of law.”
Supporters of the law are questioning Judge Black’s impartiality in the case, pointing out that he served as a director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati from 1986 to 1989 and as board president in 1988. Black previously recused himself from a 2014 case that involved Planned Parenthood after his past ties with the organization were pointed out.
"We are grateful that our pro-life attorney general will fiercely defend our law and fight for what is right. We elected him for moments like this," President of Ohio Right to Life Mike Gonidakis commented Thursday. "Mike DeWine is the right person at the right time to defend our efforts and ensure special needs Ohioans are legally protected."
Planned Parenthood also sued over and successfully blocked a similar law in Indiana. North Dakota banned abortion on the basis of Down syndrome in 2013, that law has gone unchallenged likely due to the fact that the state’s only abortion clinic does not perform abortions after 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted at high rates globally. According to a CBS report, the United States has an estimated abortion rate of 67 percent (1995-2011) for unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.