Yost asks court to continue appeals case stemming from heartbeat law

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wants the Ohio Supreme Court to still continue to decide on an appeals case stemming from a preliminary injunction on Ohio’s heartbeat law.

The state is prepared, though, to accept “the will of the people” when it comes to the passage of Issue 1, a legal explainer from his office said.

“The Supreme Court will rule on what comes next, but the state is prepared to acknowledge the will of the people on the issue, and also to carefully review each part of the law for an orderly resolution of the case. Some of that is up to plaintiffs, and all of it is up to the courts,” Yost said in his brief.

Yost’s brief filed in the case of Preterm-Cleveland v. Yost recognizes how the new amendment from Issue 1, which includes the right to access to abortion, overrides the heartbeat law. The heartbeat law itself, though, is not what’s up for debate in this case, which is about at what point an injunction on a law can be appealed, his brief says.

Preterm-Cleveland v. Yost is also arguing over whether or not abortion clinics have the capacity, or the legal standing, to bring a lawsuit challenging the heartbeat law in the first place, or if patients themselves must bring forth these lawsuits.

“But this dramatic legal change does not affect this appeal, which does not deal with the underlying Heartbeat Act, but rather critical procedural issues that do not turn on the substantive regulation of abortion at all. Indeed, the abortion-specific merits of the Heartbeat Act are not even before the Court,” said Yost’s brief, which was signed by Michael J. Hendershot, chief deputy solicitor general.

Last month, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered parties in the case of Preterm-Cleveland v. Yost, the lawsuit stemming from a lower court’s preliminary injunction on Ohio’s heartbeat law, to file briefs about how the passage of Issue 1 will impact that case.

Those briefs came on Thursday, with the ACLU of Ohio asking the court to dismiss Yost’s appeal, referring to the heartbeat law as S.B. 23.

Issue 1 being in effect now renders Ohio’s heartbeat law a moot point, along with Yost’s appeals of the preliminary injunction on that law, the ACLU of Ohio said.

“A final judgment reflecting that S.B. 23 clearly violates the amendment will moot the State’s appeal of previously granted preliminary relief,” said Jessie Hill, an attorney with ACLU of Ohio, said in a brief filed Thursday.

If the court does decide to enact a ruling, the urgency behind Yost’s appeal is lost, Hill’s brief says. Even if the court allows Yost to appeal the preliminary injunction on the heartbeat law before the case in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court is over, it wouldn’t change how the heartbeat law is no longer legal under the Ohio Constitution.

“Should the Court nevertheless choose to rule, it is even clearer that the order preliminarily enjoining S.B. 23 cannot be immediately appealed. The State suffers no harm while S.B. 23 is enjoined: it cannot be harmed by being prevented from enforcing a law that the Attorney General himself has now admitted violates the Ohio Constitution,” Hill’s brief said.

Other groups and people filed supplemental briefs in the case of Preterm-Cleveland v. Yost, including one in which Dayton Right to Life was included.

“Dayton Right to Life has defended the preborn for decades, so will strongly oppose the attempt by Issue 1 to undermine the rights of those protected by Article 1 of our Ohio Constitution, right to life,” said Margie Christie, executive director of Dayton Right to Life.

Dayton Right to Life plans to support judicial challenges and “family-friendly legislation that addresses childcare, adoption, abortion coercion, and other ongoing issues regarding women and their families,” she said.

Dayton Right to Life also plans to continue supporting families with other supports like its food pantry as Christie said a growing immigrant population has increased those they serve by 25%.

“We will continue to offer our college scholarship program, and parent education services, as well. We will never abandon families in crisis, so our work continues,” Christie said.

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