Abortion rights activists march to the home of United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's home in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., June 27, 2022.
Abortion rights activists march to the home of United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's home in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., June 27, 2022. Reuters / EVELYN HOCKSTEIN

The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday gave the Republican-led state the go-ahead to enforce a ban on abortions at six weeks of pregnancy that was reinstated with the U.S. Supreme Court decision last week overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Ohio's top court allowed the 2019 restriction to remain in effect, denying an emergency petition opposing it from Planned Parenthood, one week after the Supreme Court erased women's constitutional right to abortion and restored states' unfettered authority to ban or restrict the procedure.

The blockbuster reversal, on a 5-4 opinion from the U.S. high court's conservative majority, has triggered a flurry of litigation by abortion rights groups seeking to preserve the ability of women to legally terminate their own pregnancies.

Two Democratic-controlled states, New York and New Jersey, moved on Friday to bolster abortion rights within their borders.

In New Jersey on Friday, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation designed to allow women who venture to the state seeking abortions to do so without fear of prosecution or civil litigation from their home states.

The measures also established new legal protections for reproductive healthcare practitioners in New Jersey who provide interstate abortion services.

"These two critical laws further our commitment to protecting abortion rights for New Jersey residents and anyone else who comes to our state seeking care," acting state Attorney General Matthew Platkin said in a statement.

One bill would generally bar disclosure of a patient's medical records related to reproductive healthcare without consent, and prohibit public agencies from cooperating with interstate investigations of individuals seeking abortion care.

The other would prevent the extradition of anyone to another state for receiving, providing or facilitating abortion services in New Jersey.

The New York Senate passed an amendment to the state constitution to codify the right to an abortion, as well as the right to contraception.

Roe had guaranteed a national right to end any pregnancy up until the time of fetal viability outside the womb - generally between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation.

Ohio's law, S.B. 23, bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can first be detected, around six weeks of gestation, a point before many women even realize their pregnant.

Abortion rights groups have since last week challenged anti-abortion laws in 11 states, with judges in Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas and Utah preventing restrictions or bans from being enforced. A Mississippi judge will hear a challenge to a ban on Tuesday.

The Ohio measure, which Republican Governor Mike DeWine signed into law, had been blocked in the federal courts. But hours after the Supreme Court's decision, a federal judge dissolved the injunction preventing its enforcement.

"We are deeply disturbed by the Ohio Supreme Court's decision to allow the draconian six-week ban to remain in effect as it considers the merits of our case," the abortion providers and the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented them, said in a joint statement.

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost had argued Ohio's state constitution did not recognize a right to abortion. In a statement, he said the plaintiffs should be "pursuing their policy goals through the political process, not the courts."

Also on Friday, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers brought a lawsuit before the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging two state abortion bans, one from 1910 and one passed this year.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Oklahoma Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling on Tuesday, allowed another abortion ban in the state to take effect.