Ohio Supreme Court hears appeal from Toledo’s lone remaining abortion clinic

By Dave Andrusko

On Tuesday the Ohio Supreme Court heard government attorneys ask the seven justices to uphold the state Health Department’s order to shut down Toledo’s last abortion clinic.

Two lower court rulings have ruled against the state of Ohio which closed Capital Care Network because, the Columbus Dispatch reported, “it failed to obtain a transfer agreement with a local hospital to take patients in the event of a medical emergency, as required by the 2013 budget,” quoting Stephen P. Carney, the assistant attorney general who represented the state.

Ohio Right to Life says the case is of enormous importance. NRLC’s state affiliate noted

Capital Care, Toledo’s last abortion facility, has been violating state law and regulations for years, putting women’s lives at risk.

The abortion clinic attempted to skirt Ohio laws by sending women who are suffering from abortion complications 52 miles away to Ann Arbor. The Ohio Department of Health has consistently determined that this course of action was unacceptable. Should the Department of Health succeed before the Ohio Supreme Court, greater Toledo will arguably be abortion free.

Carney told the court that having a transfer agreements in place ensures “guaranteed (hospital) admission and continuity of care.” The state health department has determined that to be a “local” hospital it must be within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. Capital Care’s arrangement was with University of Michigan Health Center in Ann Harbor, Michigan, which is 52 miles away.

Catherine Candisky and Megan Henry of the Dispatch wrote

Jennifer L. Branch, a Cincinnati attorney representing Capital Care, told justices that the state is trying to deny women in northwestern Ohio their right to safe and legal abortions. She said that adding rules about transfer agreements for abortion clinics into a “huge” budget bill violated the single-subject rule of the Ohio Constitution and allowed insufficient opportunity for public debate.

As reported in NRL News Today, the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas and Ohio’s 6th District Court of Appeals in Toledo ruled in favor of the clinic, which has meant that Capital Care, which performed 895 abortions last year, has remained open.

The state of Ohio has eight abortion clinics, including two in Columbus.

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