News Abortion

Cincinnati Clinic Will Stop Providing Surgical Abortions This Week

Nina Liss-Schultz

The clinic decided not to appeal a Hamilton County judge’s ruling that the Ohio Department of Health was within its rights when it revoked the clinic's license earlier this year.

The Cincinnati-area Lebanon Road Surgery Center, also known as Women’s Med, will end its tenure as an abortion provider, beginning on Friday. The clinic decided not to appeal a Hamilton County judge’s ruling that the Ohio Department of Health was within its rights when it revoked the clinic’s license earlier this year.

Lebanon Road had five days to appeal Judge Metz’s decision last Friday or face the halting of its surgical abortion services. The clinic’s attorney, Dorothea Langsam, announced on Wednesday that her clients will not appeal and will stop providing such services at the end of the week.

Though previous reports indicated that the clinic would close altogether, Langsam confirmed for Rewire that Lebanon Road will remain open but will no longer include surgical abortions among the medical services it offers. Instead, women will be able to go to Lebanon Road for the doctor’s appointment they are required by law to have before getting an abortion. The clinic will also continue to provide other reproductive health care to women.

Langsam also said that the clinic is looking into the option of providing non-surgical abortions.

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According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, at the start of 2013, Ohio had 14 abortions clinics. Now only ten remain, three of which have also come under fire. Lebanon Road was one of two clinics in the Cincinnati area that offered surgical abortions, and the only one offering later abortions.

Lebanon Road had been operating at its Sharonville location for nearly four years, and for 32 years at another location in Clifton, Ohio. According to the clinic, it has a hospital transfer ratio of fewer than one patient to every 15,000 surgeries performed, and during its four years of operation at the Sharonville location, clinic staff had only transferred one patient to a hospital, with a successful outcome.

The clinic has been fighting to stay open since 2012, when the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued a proposal to revoke the clinic’s “variance”—an exemption permit that allows a facility to operate without a written transfer agreement with a local hospital, which is required by state law. The ODH then moved to revoke the clinic’s operating license all together for failing to comply with Ohio law by having either a transfer agreement or a variance.

Langsam told Rewire that the obstacles facing Lebanon Road are those that all surgical abortion providers in the state now face. “Ohio has figured out an insidious way of going after abortion clinics,” she said. “By closing them one by one, it makes it difficult to bring a lawsuit against the state based on the undue burden challenge. And by the time such a claim is brought, these clinics will all be closed.”

In an opinion piece for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Martin Haskell, Lebanon Road’s medical director and chief surgeon who has been licensed to practice medicine since the mid 1970s, explained why the change is bad for Ohio:

Tens of thousands of women have walked through our doors over the years. These are women resolute in their decision, unwavering in their commitment, even as picketers try to stop them with their graphic signs and attempt to lure them into clinics masquerading as abortion providers. …

In the past five years, we have seen almost 6,000 of these impoverished women in Cincinnati. These women have few resources, fewer options and no way to travel to another city for an abortion. Their goal is simple. They want only to provide a better life for themselves and the children they already have. They are the silent victims left in our governor’s wake as he closes abortion providers one by one. He has made a conscious decision to abandon these women and their children, sending them into even deeper poverty, hopelessness and suffering.

As part of its decision to stop battling the state in court, Lebanon Road has also decided to drop a lawsuit it filed earlier this month against the ODH for its “unreasonable and politically motivated” decision to revoke the clinic’s variance and license.

News Politics

To Avoid Campus Sexual Assault, Kasich Suggests, Don’t Go to Parties With a Lot of Alcohol

Ally Boguhn

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told a young woman at a town hall event in New York who was worried about sexual violence on campus that she should avoid attending parties with excessive alcohol.

At a town hall event in New York, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told a young woman who was worried about sexual violence on campus that she should avoid attending parties with excessive alcohol.

“Being that I am a young female college student, what are you going to do in office as president to help me feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment, and rape?” the first-year student at St. Lawrence University asked the Republican presidential candidate on Friday.

Kasich replied that in Ohio, “we think that when you enroll you ought to absolutely know” how to report sexual harassment “or whatever” confidentially, access a rape kit, and “pursue justice after you’ve had some time to reflect on it all.” Adding that similar rules should be applied nationwide, he continued that he has “two 16-year-old daughters, and I don’t even like to think about it.”

“It’s sad, but it’s something that I have to worry about,” the student noted.

“I’d also give you one bit of advice. Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol. OK? Don’t do that,” Kasich responded.

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After the town hall, Kasich’s campaign tweeted“Only one person is at fault in a sexual assault, and that’s the assailant.”

Victims needs [sic] to know we’re doing everything we can to have their backs, and that’s happening in Ohio under John Kasich’s leadership,” said another tweet from the campaign.

However, Kasich’s comments had already begun to garner criticism from those who felt he was placing the responsibility for stopping sexual violence on the victims.

“Let me say this simply, so that the governor can understand—rape victims are not responsible for rape. It’s on all of us—men and women—to address campus sexual assault,” Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis said in a statementaccording to Cincinnati.com.

Others argued that Kasich’s statement was reflective of his past record on reproductive rights and women’s health.

“John Kasich’s plan for combating sexual assault as president is to blame women who go to parties. John Kasich’s pattern of dismissing the concerns of women is disturbing enough,” said Dawn Laguens, vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF), in a statement. PPAF has already endorsed Clinton for the presidency. 

“As Governor, John Kasich has implemented policies that reflect his disregard for women, enacting 18 measures that restrict women’s access to reproductive health care while nearly half the abortion providers in his state closed their doors. He eliminated domestic violence prevention and a healthy moms and healthy babies program, simply because they were provided by Planned Parenthood. A John Kasich presidency would punish women. We can’t let his dangerous agenda into the White House,” continued Laguens.

As ThinkProgress’ Alice Ollstein explained, not only did Kasich’s so-called advice seem to blame the victim, it “also perpetuates the disproved myth that there is a direct link between alcohol consumption and rape. In fact, incidents of rape have been declining since 1979, while binge drinking has been steadily rising during the same time period. While alcohol is present in about half of all sexual assaults, it’s also present in about that same percentage of all violent crimes.” 

At least one in four undergraduate women are sexually assaulted during their time on campus, according to a September 2015 survey conducted by the Association of American Universities.

Kasich similarly pitched the merits of confidential reporting of campus sexual violence during a February town hall event hosted by CNN, where he promised, if elected, to “use a bully pulpit” to “speak out” on the topic and push “legislatures to begin to pay attention to these issues.”

The Ohio governor’s state budget for fiscal year 2016 also included $2 million to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault. In October, the Ohio Department of Higher Education launched an initiative to “prevent and better respond to incidents of sexual violence” on all of the state’s college campuses using the money allocated by the budget.

However, Kasich’s 2013 budget contained a “gag rule” provision blocking funding for rape crisis centers that provide information about abortion. Among the other anti-choice provisions included in the budget was a mandate on ultrasounds for abortions and the reallocation of Planned Parenthood funds to crisis pregnancy centers, which regularly lie to patients in order to persuade them not to have an abortion.

Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: So Much Bad News for Daleiden. So Much.

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

Gavel Drop is a roundup of the good, bad, and absurd in the courts.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

The New York Times profiled the lawyers representing the National Abortion Federation in its lawsuit against the recently indicted David Daleiden and his phony anti-choice front organization the Center for Medical Progress, and they sound badass.

Speaking of the indicted Daleiden, a federal judge in San Francisco told him no, he can’t share his Planned Parenthood attack videos with the Supreme Court ahead of oral arguments in the Texas clinic-shutdown case. (The Texas Observer explains what’s at stake in that case here.)

This lawyer sued state officials after a doctor concluded one of her twin daughters was a “shaken baby” and the state took both of her kids away. The lawsuit claims the science behind shaken baby syndrome is bunk.

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So it looks like the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals might strike Utah’s polygamy ban.

This must-read piece on intellectual disabilities and parenthood in New York magazine asked the question: How smart must you be to raise a child?

A Texas woman claimed her employer forced her to have an abortion. Her allegations are horrible, as is the fact that anti-choice opponents have latched on to her case.

A Minnesota mom sued her insurance company for, according to her lawsuit, denying her transgender child coverage for transition-related medication and surgery.

Based on the numbers so far, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is likely never going to be president and he’s likely never going to stop introducing radical fetal “personhood” legislation either.

Anti-choice officials in Missouri really, really, really want to close this Planned Parenthood reproductive health-care center.

Joshua Woodward was sentenced to nine years in prison for slipping his pregnant girlfriend abortion-inducing drugs against her will.

Hospitals all over the country are quietly restricting abortion access as they get bought up by Catholic health-care corporations. Here’s the latest example.

Chipotle faces a sex discrimination lawsuit after a former employee claims a manager fired employees because they were women.

This week in frivolous lawsuits, the parents of a Maryland high schooler filed a federal lawsuit alleging that a two-week unit on Islam in the La Plata High School 11th grade World History class unconstitutionally promoted Islam over Christianity and Judaism.

Arizona Republicans are tired of that pesky Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overruling all their abortion restrictions, so they are shopping for a new court. Seriously.

Ending on a good note, the Roberts Court made it clear that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole. Ever.