Document Type



This article examines the constitutionality of Ohio’s controversial House Bill 125 (“H.B. 125”), which includes new restrictions and requirements for abortion procedures performed in Ohio. The author argues that, while the new abortion measures conflict with the Supreme Court’s Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence established in Roe v. Wade and in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, H.B. 125 also violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by imputing religious beliefs about conception and the value of life onto all Ohioans.

The article first outlines the current legal framework for constitutionally acceptable and unacceptable abortion restrictions, including a discussion of informed consent provisions, 24-hour waiting periods, and the “undue burden” standard. As the article notes, if H.B. 125 were implemented, this legal framework would also include measuring fetal viability based on detectible cardiac activity.

The author argues that H.B. 125 violates the Establishment Clause because it espouses certain Christian beliefs about conception and the value of life that other Christians and non-Christians citizens do not hold. H.B. 125 is distinguished from abortion restrictions that were enacted and upheld in other parts of the country. Finding support from both Christian and non-Christian community leaders, the author argues that defining life at conception or at the time when fetal cardiac activity is detectible restricts the availability of abortion procedures for those who have opposing views.