By Dave Andrusko
One step forward, one step back—or at least sideways. Such is the ongoing story of the Lebanon Road Surgery Center abortion clinic, updated one more time on Thursday.
Once again Magistrate Michael Bachman upheld the Ohio Department of Health’s order that would close the Sharonville, Ohio, abortion clinic owned by the notorious abortionist Martin Haskell. Bachman formalized what he had concluded orally— that Haskell’s clinic was in violation of state law because it operated without a transfer agreement with an area hospital and was unable to identify any doctors within the region that wanted to assist his abortion business. Bachman ruled that the abortion clinic must close by 4:00 Thursday afternoon.
But the fly in the ointment remains Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jerry Metz. Back in February Metz ruled that the Lebanon Road Surgery Center, also known as Women’s Medical Center, could remain open as fights a state order closing the clinic. Soon after Judge Bachman acted, Judge Metz again ruled that Haskell’s clinic could stay open while he reviews Bachman’s ruling.
Metz gave the clinic 14 days to appeal Judge Bachman’s judgment.
According to Ohio law, Lebanon Road Surgery Center exists as an Ambulatory Surgical Facility and because of this legal status, the clinic is not a full-service medical facility. To operate legally, Lebanon Road Surgery Center must have a transfer agreement with a full-service private hospital to handle all cases of abortion complications against the mother. In the case that an abortion facility is unable to acquire a transfer agreement, it can apply for a variance (exception). Lebanon Road Surgery Center failed to obtain either.
According to Ohio Right to Life, Martin Haskell has performed abortions for more than 30 years. He is notorious for his advocacy of partial-birth abortion and is credited for popularizing the now banned and illegal procedure. If Haskell’s abortion clinic is closed, only one abortion facility will remain open inside the county with the third highest rate for abortion deaths in Ohio.