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Ohio Supreme Court reinstates revocation of Toledo abortion license

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The Ohio Supreme Court building (courtesy image)

By Gail Finke

In a 5-2 decision, Ohio’s Supreme Court reversed an appellate court decision regarding the license for one of the state’s largest abortion businesses. The ruling reinstates the Ohio Department of Health’s revocation of the ambulatory surgical facility license for Capital Care Network of Toledo.

A 1996 state law requires all ambulatory surgical facilities, including abortion businesses, to maintain written transfer agreements with area hospitals when medical emergencies arise. These agreements, according to a fact sheet from multi-state law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP, outline specific steps to take in case of specific emergencies, set out the authorizations necessary to make transfers and the necessary documents to do so, and indicate what both the ambulatory surgical facilities and the hospitals are expected to do to treat the emergencies. Fifteen states, including Ohio, require such agreements, and fifteen more require either that the ambulatory surgical facilities have such agreements or that their surgeons have admitting privileges at area hospitals.

Without a written transfer agreement, no ambulatory surgical facilities in Ohio can receive a license. However, some courts have allowed abortion businesses to continue operating without them, because most Ohio hospitals decline to make such agreements.

Capital Care had a written transfer agreement, but the hospital was 52 miles away from the abortion business, which the DOH found too far away to be considered appropriate for emergency care. Cincinnati attorney Jennifer Branch, who handled the case, told the “Toledo Blade” the business will remain open for abortions by prescription drugs, but that they are allowed only for the first 70 days of pregnancy.

Capital Care is the only abortion business in the city.

In a separate but related case, the Supreme Course also dismissed a suit from a Cleveland abortion business charging that requiring a transfer agreement, along with other restrictions on abortion funding enacted by the state, were illegal. The court denied that Preterm Cleveland had  standing to sue.

Including Capital Care and Preterm, Ohio has eight abortion businesses. Three are within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati: Cincinnati’s Planned Parenthood surgical center and the Sharonville and Kettering “Women’s Med Centers” owned by abortionist Martin Haskell. All have fought the state restrictions. While the Sharonville business lost its surgical license several years ago, it continues to see patients. The Kettering business lost its license in 2017 and has not had a written transfer agreement for more than 10 years. However its owners were granted an injunction to remain open while they appealed the decision, and while the Capital Care case proceeded.

Dayton Right to Life leaders hope the Capital Care decision will result in the Haskell businesses closing their doors for good. The board issued a statement Tuesday saying that it is grateful that the health and safety of women will be protected by the Capital Care decisions. “We also appreciate the Court’s support that the standard of care expected of ALL ambulatory facilities be equally expected of abortion facilities,” said Executive Director Paul Coudron. “Why should women’s care be the exception?”

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