Ohio Supreme Court Again Refuses to Hear Appeal of Abortion Clinic Closure

October 30, 2019by Randy Ludlow
The Ohio Supreme Court has declined to get involved in a case in which a Dayton-area abortion clinic appealed the loss of its state license. (Fred Squillante/The Columbus Dispatch/TNS)

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.

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Columbus Dispatch reporter Catherine Candisky contributed to this report.

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©2019 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com

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