Health & Human Services

ACLU Sues Ohio over Abortion Provisions Added to Budget

Worried that federal courts would not overturn Ohio’s new abortion restrictions, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio challenged them yesterday in a local court.
October 10, 2013
 

Worried that federal courts would not overturn Ohio’s new abortion restrictions, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio challenged them yesterday in a local court.

And the lawsuit has nothing to do with the constitutionality of abortion access, but centers on the argument that Gov. John Kasich and the legislature violated an oft-ignored provision of the Ohio Constitution limiting legislation to a single subject.

“Of course we’re pro-choice, but this really is a case about the single-subject rule and how legislators stick stuff into the budget,” said Christine Link, the Ohio ACLU’s executive director. “The budget should not be a vehicle for everybody’s pet thing.”

Link said the group was less certain that federal courts covering Ohio — especially the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati — would agree that the new anti-abortion provisions meet the legal threshold of placing an “undue burden” on Ohio women.

The lawsuit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court says that three abortion restrictions in the budget “have nothing whatsoever to do with budgeting, appropriations, spending or taxation. Rather, they are controversial riders, added in the eleventh hour to a must-pass bill in order to ensure that they would pass easily and without opposition.”

The language reflected a May 1999 Ohio Supreme Court ruling that overturned the state’s school-voucher program because it was attached to a budget bill.

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