Ohio Supreme Court Again Refuses to Hear Appeal of Abortion Clinic Closure
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court has declined to reconsider its decision rejecting an appeal from a Dayton-area abortion clinic ordered closed by state health officials.
The justices voted 4-3 on Aug. 21 not to review the case, with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, and Democratic Justices Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart voting to accept the case.
A motion by Women’s Med Center for reconsideration failed Tuesday, with the same three justices in the 4-3 minority.
The Women’s Med Center in Kettering had asked the court to overturn a decision by Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals upholding an order by the Ohio Department of Health for instructing the clinic to close because it failed to obtain a legally required patient transfer agreement from a Dayton-area hospital.
The only remaining abortion clinic in the Dayton area remains open while a separate lawsuit continues in federal court.
Health officials revoked the center’s operating license in 2016 for not having a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital or naming enough backup physicians for emergencies.
State law enacted in 2013 requires an “ambulatory surgical facility,” including an abortion clinic, to have a written transfer agreement with a nearby hospital unless it is granted a variance by the state health director. Public hospitals are not permitted to participate in transfer agreements. The clinic had been operating under a state waiver from the health director that was not renewed.
Abortion opponents say such agreements are needed to ensure patient safety. Abortion-rights supporters say the agreements are unnecessary because hospitals don’t turn away people in need of care, and lawmakers’ intent was to create hurdles for clinics to operate.
Columbus Dispatch reporter Catherine Candisky contributed to this report.
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