Ohio Abortion Laws
By FindLaw Staff | Legally reviewed by Nicole Prebeck, Esq. | Last reviewed December 22, 2022
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Abortion is legal in Ohio until a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which typically occurs at around 6 weeks of pregnancy. Thereafter, abortion is available only when necessary to protect the life of the mother.
The issue of abortion in the U.S. has been extremely controversial with passionate advocates on both sides of the issue. In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which returned to the states the power to regulate, even prohibit, abortion.
Ohio has a "fetal heartbeat" law, which prohibits nearly all abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected (typically five-six weeks). A court blocked enforcement of the law for the time-being, but vacated its injunction following Dobbs on June 24, 2022. This area of the law is highly fluid.
Ohio Abortion Laws: The Basics
When you're faced with an unwanted pregnancy, the last thing you have time or energy for is deciphering complex legal texts. That's why we've provided "plain English" summaries of the law below. The basic provisions of Ohio's current abortion laws are listed in the following chart.
|Statute||Ohio Revised Code, Section 2919.11, 2919.195, et seq. [N.B. Currently Enjoined by Court]|
|Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion||Knowingly performing or inducing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, unless designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman|
|Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion||In the physician's reasonable medical judgment, an abortion that is designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman|
|Penalty for Unlawful Abortion||Fifth-degree felony|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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- Ohio Law - Summaries of select Ohio statutes relating to criminal, family, injury, consumer, small business, and other areas of the law.
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Ohio Abortion Laws: Related Resources
Get Professional Legal Help With Your Ohio Abortion Concerns
State laws regarding the legality of and access to abortion have been in flux ever since the Roe v. Wade ruling protected the practice in all states, making it difficult to keep up with current law. An attorney experienced in such matters will know the law and its implications for your case. Get in touch with an experienced Ohio health care attorney today and get some peace of mind.
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