CINCINNATI — Abortion restrictions have been lifted for another two weeks, with a Hamilton County judge extending a temporary restraining order against the 2019 law that bars abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks.

But what does that mean going forward?

What You Need To Know

  • Judge Christian Jenkins extended a temporary restraining order against a law that bars most abortions after six weeks

  • His order means people can get abortion care up to 20 weeks until Oct. 12

  • Spectrum News/Siena College Poll indicates more than half of the respondents are opposed to the law

  • More Democrats are strongly opposed to it, while most Republicans strongly support it

On Tuesday, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins extended the restraining order, which means patients can receive abortion care up to 20 weeks.

“We are happy that again people in the state can access abortion services and get the care that they need without traveling hundreds and hundreds of miles,” said Jessie Hill, the attorney for Preterm-Cleveland. 

Hill has been an advocate for reproductive rights for 20 years.

“Fighting back against increasingly severe and extreme abortion restrictions that have been passed by the legislature over the past decade or more,” she said. 

Although the temporary restraining order has lifted restrictions on abortions for now, it’s not permanent.

That’s why the plaintiff’s ultimate goal of this lawsuit is to get the judge to grant a preliminary injunction. That means it will keep the law blocked until the case is over or until a judge decides to make the injunction permanent or dissolve it. 

“We’re hoping that ultimately, if and when this case ends up before the Ohio Supreme Court, that the Ohio Supreme Court will agree with us,” said Hill. 

Our exclusive Spectrum News/Siena College Poll indicates that more than half of the respondents are opposed to the Heartbeat Law, as the legislation has been dubbed.

The poll was conducted Sept. 18-22, and has a 4.4% margin-of-error.

But when it comes to political parties, more Democrats are strongly opposed to it while most Republicans strongly support it. 

“Ohio is a Pro-Life state,” said Laura Strietmann, Greater Cincinnati Right to Life executive director. “Again, our elected officials show that. It took 10 years for the Heartbeat Bill to become the Heartbeat Law.”

Strietmann said she is extremely upset with the judge’s decision to re-extend the temporary restraining order. That sentiment was echoed by lawyers representing the state during a hearing in early September.

“The plaintiff’s strategic choices defeat their claim for a TRO,” she said. “TROs exist to preserve the status quo long enough for the aggrieved party to seek a preliminary injunction. At this point the Heartbeat Act is the status quo in Ohio.”

We reached out for a comment from Attorney General Dave Yost's office on the recent decision, but they declined. The temporary restraining order will end on Oct. 12. A court hearing will be held Oct. 7 to hear arguments from both sides. 

“We plan on being there on the steps with people from across the state that are going to come in and show that we stand for life and the legal way you get laws made in Ohio,” said Strietmann.