Ohio Legislation and Litigation

Part of OPEN’s scholarly mission is to monitor and evaluate the changing legal landscape of reproductive rights in Ohio. This page provides educational resources and databases created by OPEN for public use. We strive to make this content as accessible as possible.

Note: On Wednesday, September 14, 2022 a judge in Hamilton County, Ohio BLOCKED Ohio's 6-week abortion ban (SB 23). Although the ruling is only in effect for 14 days, litigation will continue, and the Ohio clinics that brought the lawsuit will seek a longer order keeping the law blocked until the case is over. All clinics in Ohio remain open and are planning to resume the services they offered  pre-Dobbs.  The FAQ below applies to abortion services in Ohio prior to the Hamilton County judge's  ruling.

Ohio’s abortion policy climate is extremely restrictive. Ohio law currently places the following restrictions on the abortion procedure and abortion providers:

  • As of June 24, 2022, no abortion may be performed if a “fetal heartbeat” (i.e., embryonic cardiac activity) is detected by an ultrasound that is performed immediately before the procedure. This ban essentially acts as a six-weeks from last menstrual period (LMP) ban, as that is the time when embryonic cardiac activity is often first detectable. Exceptions exist for physical medical emergencies. If no embryonic cardiac activity is detected, abortion is still permissible. Please refer to OPEN’s Ohio’s Six-Week Abortion Ban webpage for more information.
  • There is required in-person counseling with a physician at least 24 hours before an abortion can be performed.
  • The pregnant person must be offered the opportunity to see or hear the fetal or embryonic cardiac tone, if any, at least 24 hours before an abortion. They must also be told the likelihood the pregnancy would survive if the abortion did not occur.
  • No medical providers other than physicians are permitted to perform abortions.
  • Pregnant people under the age of 18 must obtain the consent of one parent before obtaining an abortion or must go to court to obtain an order waiving this consent requirement.
  • No abortion may be performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy LMP except in cases of severe threats to the pregnant person’s health or their life is endangered. This law is now superseded by Ohio’s enforcement of an embryonic cardiac activity ban, which generally limits abortion to roughly six weeks of gestation from a person’s last menstrual period.
  • Provision of medication abortion must follow the protocol contained in the drug’s labeling and cannot deviate from that protocol based on new medical evidence.
  • Health insurance plans for state employees and those offered in the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange cannot cover abortion, except in cases of rape or incest, or where the pregnant person’s life is in danger.
  • Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of rape or incest, or where the pregnant person’s life is in danger. Public facilities may perform an abortion only for those same reasons.
  • The state requires every abortion clinic to have a “written transfer agreement” with a local hospital, which the hospital can choose to grant or deny for any reason or no reason whatsoever, unless the clinic is granted a variance from this requirement by the state. Moreover, public hospitals are forbidden to enter into transfer agreements with abortion clinics.
  • A physician may not perform an abortion if that physician knows that the patient is seeking the abortion, in whole or in part, because of a diagnosis or indication of Down syndrome in the fetus.

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