By Dave Andrusko
Cincinnati’s lone remaining abortion clinic has withdrawn its lawsuit against the state when the Ohio Department of Health granted The Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Elizabeth Campbell Surgical Center a variance from the requirement that it has a patient-transfer agreement with a nearby hospital. The decision came a little over a week after the abortion clinic filed its lawsuit.
“Planned Parenthood instead has lined up four doctors who have agreed to accept and care for patients at local hospitals in an emergency,” according to Chrissie Thompson of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Thompson wrote that the lawsuit was dropped after the health department’s director, Richard Hodges, granted the exemption.
“To avoid a lawsuit, the Ohio Department of Health has catered to the abortion industry and thus ensured continued wounding of women and the death of their unborn babies,” said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati.
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In an email to Thompson, health department spokeswoman Melanie Amato wrote that the department evaluates each request for an exception [variance] “on a case by case basis,” adding, “This variance request has been granted because it meets the legal requirements and medical expectations for patient health and safety.”
At the same time, Hodges reminded The Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Elizabeth Campbell Surgical Center that the law gives him the authority “at any time” to “rescind the variance for any reason.”
In August, NRL News Today reported about a lawsuit brought on behalf of Women’s Med, an abortion clinic run by notorious Martin Haskell in Sharonville, Ohio which had not been granted a variance. Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jerome Metz Jr.’s ruled it is the Ohio Department of Health’s “sole discretion” whether it gives a variance to the requirement that abortion clinics have a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital in cases of emergency. Haskell choose not to appeal the decision and the clinic is no longer performing surgical abortions.
According to Thompson,
A second Women’s Med clinic in Dayton also lacks hospital transfer agreements and is seeking an exception from the Ohio Department of Health. The Dayton clinic also has yet to receive a response from the health department. Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, on Thursday called on the health department to grant the exception for the Dayton clinic.
For more about the Dayton, Ohio, abortion clinic, see http://nrlc.cc/1zJTEFI