Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit to protect abortion rights in the state on Sunday, leading a federal judge to temporarily block state officials on Monday from taking action against the organization's disposal methods.
The lawsuit comes as no surprise after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's recent investigation found that fetal remains were being sent from Planned Parenthood centers in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati to “companies which disposed of the fetuses in landfills”
— a statement the organization finds "inflammatory."
Planned Parenthood argues their three Ohio abortion facilities comply with all legal regulations, acting just as hospitals do by contracting medical waste companies and disposing of remains by using "humane" methods. Ohio Planned Parenthood claims DeWine’s allegations are defamatory and fueled by political motives. The President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Stephanie Knight
, said “We’re asking a federal court to prevent the state from this plainly political attempt to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion."
DeWine was originally investigating Planned Parenthood's participation in Ohio in the sales of fetal tissue after rumors and videos circulated about Planned Parenthood on a national scale. DeWine found that Planned Parenthood locations in Ohio do not, in fact, trade in fetuses for paychecks, but nevertheless determined their current disposal methods to be "inhumane" and therefore against the law.
The lawsuit blocks DeWine's plan to seek an injunction against Planned Parenthood's disposal of fetal remains until Jan. 11. In the meantime, Ohio Republican legislatures will continue to pursue a bill that would clearly define "humane" disposal methods and require abortion clinics and hospitals to cremate or bury fetal remains in Ohio.
In a statement, Jerry Lawson
, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, comments, "We will continue to fight back against these political attacks every step of the way and our doors will remain open to all Ohioans — no matter what."