By Dave Andrusko
When last we reported on Toledo’s lone abortion clinic, the Ohio Supreme Court had just reaffirmed its earlier decision closing Capital Care Network for failing to secure an emergency patient transfer agreement with a local hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.
However Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade reported today that “Toledo’s last abortion clinic has been quietly granted a new operating license by the state after the clinic struck an emergency transfer agreement with ProMedica.”
“If it weren’t for ProMedica, Capital Care would not have a license today,” Jennifer Branch, the clinic’s Cincinnati attorney, told the Blade.
The Ohio Department of Health “issued the ambulatory-surgical facility license for Capital Care Network’s two operating rooms on Wednesday and retroactively applied it to May 8, the date of the clinic’s state inspection,” Provance reported. “The license will expire on May 31, 2019.”
Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said, “It’s unfortunate that the health department believes that a clinic who has violated Ohio’s health laws for numerous years deserves to be licensed and remain open,” adding that the abortion clinic “was fined $40,000 due to their own blatant disregard of Ohio’s health and safety standards.
“The health department has set a dangerous precedent that we fear will continue to put women and their children in harm’s way,” Gonidakis said.
While the abortion clinic contested the ruling, Capital Care continued to perform chemical abortions. “Ms. Branch said surgical abortions will resume as soon as possible,” the Blade reported.
The story behind Capital Care is long and hugely complicated, as NRL News Today has reported on multiple occasions.
The Capital Care Network case has repeatedly gone up and down the legal chain. In 2013, after the University of Toledo Medical Center did not renew its transfer agreement with the abortion clinic, Capital Care Network went five months without an agreement before finally negotiating one with a University of Michigan Health System hospital which is 52 miles away in Ann Arbor.
In 2014, the clinic’s license was revoked by the Ohio Department of Health “because transporting a patient to Ann Arbor would take longer than the department’s 30-minute standard.”
Back in February when the Ohio Supreme Court initially upheld the state order closing Capital Care Network, Provance observed that Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell, who wrote the majority opinion, said
Capital Care owner Terrie Hubbard admitted Capital Care lacked a written transfer agreement with a hospital between August 1, 2013, and January 20, 2014. She also testified, although a helicopter could be used to transfer patients 52 miles to the Ann Arbor hospital, the clinic had no contract with an air-ambulance provider to ensure that one would be available when needed, Justice O’Donnell wrote.
“Even if one were available, she admitted it could take an hour for it to reach her facility before flying another 15 to 20 minutes to Ann Arbor,” he wrote.
Today’s Blade story concluded by noting that “An administrative hearing is scheduled for June 27 on the clinic’s challenge to the fine levied by the department for alleged violations stemming from a surprise license inspection of the facility last year. The clinic was accused of failing to follow its own internal procedures for the transfer of a patient to Toledo Hospital for an ultrasound after suspected complications following an abortion.”