ACLU of Ohio files federal lawsuit against Ohio's 'heartbeat' abortion ban

Ohio Rep. Allison Russo speaks to support an amendment preceding a vote on the Heartbeat Bill at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio on April 10, 2019. The House members voted in the controversial "Heartbeat Bill" that bans abortion at the first sounds of a fetal heartbeat, which is around 6 weeks after conception. Many protestors shouted in the hallway outside of the meeting where House members decided to pass the bill. (Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

The ACLU of Ohio filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday morning against the so-called "Heartbeat Bill" which was recently signed into law, banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. A heartbeat can be detected about six weeks into a pregnancy.

The ACLU called it a "near total abortion ban" and said they are doing everything in their power to stop the law from going into effect. It's set to take effect July 10.

“This is just a full frontal assault on Roe v. Wade but there have been these smaller, death by a thousand cuts type of assaults all along," said Jessie Hill, an attorney for the ACLU of Ohio.

In an announcement, the group said the law "flies in the face of the Constitution."

“It’s an actual all-out ban on abortion and so it is clearly unconstitutional," Hill said. "There’s just been no question in Supreme Court precedent, in appeals court precedent, for 46 years that states cannot ban abortion before viability.”

Opponents of the bill said six weeks into a pregnancy is often before a woman even realizes she's pregnant.

The bill does not include exceptions for victims of rape and incest. Iris Harvey of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio said signing legislation like that was a sign that Governor Mike DeWine wasn't someone who cared about women.

“If you take away a woman’s fundamental autonomy about her body and how she can raise her family, if she can raise a family, then I say, no, you don’t care about women. You pretend to (care),” Harvey said.

Abortion opponents said Wednesday the lawsuit was all part of the plan.

“Signing the law wasn’t our end game," said Michael Gonidakis with Ohio Right to Life. "Our end game was to have this debate in front of the United States Supreme Court.”

Gonidakis said the new conservative majority on the US Supreme Court might be his movement's best chance at overturning the landmark ruling Roe vs. Wade.

We have the most pro-life court in generations and we believe now is the time for the court to revisit this issue," he said.

DeWine's press secretary issued a statement after the announcement of the lawsuit saying, "this is an expected development. Governor DeWine has long said that this issue will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.