© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WOSP-FM in Portsmouth is operating at reduced power. In the meantime, listen online or with the WOSU mobile app.

Abortion exceptions under Ohio's 'heartbeat bill' are up to interpretation

A protestor holds a sign referencing the six-week abortion ban, which supporters call the "heartbeat" law, at a demonstration at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday, June 26, 2022.
Karen Kasler
/
Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau
A protestor holds a sign referencing the six-week abortion ban, which supporters call the "heartbeat" law, at a demonstration at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday, June 26, 2022.

The story about the 10-year-old Columbus rape survivor who traveled to Indiana for an abortion days after Ohio’s new abortion ban went into effect is raising questions.

The law bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Questions about whether a narrow exception in the new law could be applied in the girl’s case are not easy to answer.

The girl at the center of the case was six weeks and three days six weeks pregnant, who had to travel to Indiana to receive an abortion

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, said the ban has exceptions to save the mother’s life or prevent long-term impairment of a bodily function.

Yost’s Democratic opponent in the November election, Jeff Crossman said the non-partisan legal agency that helped lawmakers write the bill reports the law applies regardless of the circumstance of conception or age of the mother.

Ohio State University law professor Marc Spindelman isn’t commenting on that case, but he said exceptions can be interpreted differently.

“Where there is an exception to a general rule prohibiting abortion, you can read it at least narrowly or more broadly,” he said.

Spindelman said people can apply exceptions differently based on their own values.

The case involving the 10-year-old Columbus girl has garnered national attention.

Last week, Gerson Fuentes, 27 of Columbus' northwest side, was arraigned on a felony rape charge. A Franklin County judge set Fuentes' bail at $2 million.

Tags
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.