Federal judge blocks Ohio Down syndrome abortion ban

Federal judge blocks Ohio Down syndrome abortion ban
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A federal judge in Ohio has temporarily blocked a law from going into effect that would ban abortions on the basis of Down syndrome. 

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black wrote that the ban is unconstitutional. 

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Black's ruling blocks implementation of the law as litigation proceeds. It was set to take effect March 23. 

"Federal law is crystal clear: ‘A State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,' ” Black wrote in his ruling. 

“Here, Ohio’s new law wrongfully does just that: It violates the right to privacy of every woman in Ohio and is unconstitutional on its face,” he wrote.

The law, signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich in December, would ban abortions if one of the woman's reasons for seeking it is a Down syndrome diagnosis. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the ACLU Foundation are suing the state over the law, arguing that it is unconstitutional. 

“The court rightfully saw through Ohio lawmakers’ thinly veiled attempt to criminalize abortion and interfere in a woman’s personal health decisions,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio. “This law does absolutely nothing to support people with disabilities — it’s just another ploy to make it nearly impossible for Ohio women to get the care they need. We are committed to making sure this unconstitutional law is never enforced and today’s ruling brings us one step closer.” 

Anti-abortion groups argue abortions based on Down syndrome are discrimination.

North Dakota, Louisiana and Indiana have similar bans.