State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) released a statement after a controversial Texas law banning abortions after six weeks went into effect Wednesday following a lack of judicial intervention from the Supreme Court. This is the first time a six-week abortion ban has been allowed to go into effect.
“Overnight, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency request from Texas abortion providers to block the implementation of Texas Senate Bill 8. That Texas legislation went into effect on Wednesday, September 1, and it allows private individuals to sue anyone who provides or assists with prohibited abortions after six weeks of fetal development. It leaves no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape. Up until the Court’s inaction yesterday morning, it has been routinely ruled this type of state law unconstitutional.
For example, in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could restrict abortion rights as long as they do not provide an ‘undue burden’ to women seeking an abortion. In that decision, the court defined an undue burden as a ‘substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s fundamental right to choose’. Texas Senate Bill 8 is crafted to create a multitude of undue burdens.
By refusing to stop the anti-abortion measure, the US Supreme Court now poses a real and present danger to women’s ability to make their own healthcare decisions.
I believe that abortion services should be safe and legal in Ohio. Abortion bans do not end abortions, they only make them far more dangerous for the women seeking them.
However, not all of my General Assembly colleagues agree with my position, and they continue to seek ways to restrict this Constitutional freedom. My fear is that the Supreme Court’s inaction to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care choices will give a road map to the extreme members of the Ohio General Assembly to further restrict access to abortions and other medical care that Ohio women want and need. I support a woman’s right to make her own medical judgements, and those decisions should not be hindered by Columbus politicians. I believe that Roe v Wade should remain the law of the land,” said Rep. Smith.
In 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine signed the “heartbeat bill” into law. Like the Texas law, this bill would have banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically around 6 weeks. A federal judge blocked this law before it went into effect.