Planned Parenthood Files Lawsuit to Protect Access to Abortions in Ohio

The number of providers in the state has been cut in half.

Planned Parenthood
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit to protect access to abortions in Ohio. The lawsuit (opens in new tab) was filed on Sunday after state officials accused them of illegally disposing of aborted fetuses.

On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said a four-month investigation of three Planned Parenthood facilities showed they had contracted with a medical waste company that was disposing of medical tissue in a Kentucky landfill. According to Ohio law, the only rule (opens in new tab) about disposal is that "the fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner."

DeWine argued last week that "disposing of them in a landfill is not humane," and said that he and Rick Hodges, director of the Ohio Department of Health, were filing a court injunction (opens in new tab) "to restrict Planned Parenthood activities where violations of law have occurred," Hodges said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood argues that they have, in fact, been acting in accordance of the law and that the state officials never confronted them with concerns and, instead, went straight to the press and threatened to take legal action. 

"Planned Parenthood handles medical tissue just like other health care providers do," Jerry Lawson, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, said in a statement. "We work with licensed medical removal companies to handle fetal tissue respectfully and safely. It's clear from the Attorney General's press conference that we've acted properly and legally, and this is just part of his longstanding political agenda to ban abortion in all cases. We won't let that happen."

The number of abortion providers in Ohio has been cut in half (opens in new tab) in the last four years, the second highest number of closures nationally behind Texas. 

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Kate Storey is a contributing editor at Marie Claire and writer-at-large at Esquire magazine, where she covers culture and politics. Kate's writing has appeared in ELLE, Harper's BAZAAR, Town & Country, and Cosmopolitan, and her first book comes out in summer 2023.