Ohio Abortion Laws
Abortion is legal in Ohio until viability. Thereafter, abortion may be restricted unless necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient.
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 enacted a "fetal heartbeat" law, which prohibits nearly all abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected (typically five-six weeks). This law was enjoined by the courts and is currently on appeal. Meanwhile, on November 7, 2023, Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment creating a right to abortion through viability. Thereafter, the state can restrict abortion rights, with an exception for the life or health of the pregnant patient.
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.
|Ohio Revised Code, Section 2919.11, 2919.195, et seq. [N.B. Currently Enjoined by Court]; Ohio Const. Art. 1, sec. 22.
|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 [currently enjoined]
Constitutional Amendment: Art. 1, sec. 22: "[A]bortion may be prohibited after viability. But in no case may such an abortion be prohibited if in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient's treating physician it is necessary to protect the pregnant patient's life or health."
|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 [currently enjoined]
Constitutional Amendment: Art. 1, sec. 22: "Every individual has the right to make and carry out one's own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on . . . abortion."
|Penalty for Unlawful Abortion
|Fifth-degree felony [currently enjoined]
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 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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