Ohio Supreme Court dismisses Yost’s appeal in abortion Heartbeat Law case

Voters’ passage of Issue 1 caused a “change in law” cited by the justices in their ruling

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost that challenged a preliminary injunction on Ohio’s Heartbeat Law.

For approximately 11 weeks following the end of the federal Roe v. Wade abortion legality precedent, Ohio was under a six-week abortion ban — until Sept. 14, 2022, when a Hamilton County judge temporarily blocked the ban. What started as a 14-day restraining order and then a preliminary injunction was eventually appealed before the Ohio Supreme Court.

The court heard oral arguments in the case of Preterm-Cleveland v. Yost, but had not yet made a decision. Then on Nov. 7, approximately 56.6% of Ohio voters approved Issue 1, which enshrined access to abortion, among other reproductive decisions, in the Ohio Constitution.

Last month, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered parties in the case of Preterm-Cleveland v. Yost to file briefs about how the passage of Issue 1 will impact that case. Those briefs came last week, with the ACLU of Ohio asking the court to dismiss Yost’s appeal and Yost asking the court to continue it.

On Friday, Chief Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, along with Justices Patrick F. Fischer, R. Patrick DeWine, Michael P. Donnelly, and Melody J. Stewart, all concurred on the dismissal of this appeal in Preterm-Cleveland v. Yost, “due to change in law.” The court’s announcement on Friday did not reference it directly, but this was likely due to the passage of Issue 1.

Justice Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, dissented, but on the grounds that the appeal had been improvidently accepted, or that it had been originally accepted without a substantial constitutional question.

Judge Matthew Byrne, of the Twelfth District Court of Appeals, sitting for Justice Joseph T. Deters, dissented and wanted to proceed with the appeal.

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