Ohio Attorney General Still Pushing TRAP Law to Close Clinic

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Ohio Attorney General Still Pushing TRAP Law to Close Clinic

Michelle D. Anderson

The move comes six weeks after a judge ruled that Capital Care Network, one of a few abortion providers left in northwest Ohio, could remain open.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) on Monday appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court in an ongoing effort to shut down the last abortion care provider in Toledo.

The move comes six weeks after Judge Arlene Singer of the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled that Capital Care Network, one of a few abortion providers left in northwest Ohio, could remain open.

Following the July ruling, DeWine spokesperson Dan Tierney told the Toledo Blade that state officials had yet to decide whether they would appeal to the Supreme Court. Ohio Right to Life had urged DeWine to appeal the court’s decision, according to the Blade.

The case began after the state agency issued an order to revoke the clinic’s license in July 2014.

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The order, which would have forced the clinic to close, hinged on a now-blocked medically unnecessary provision in Ohio’s omnibus budget bill. The targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law, pushed by anti-choice legislators across the country, required abortion clinics to maintain a written transfer agreement with a “local” hospital.

Capital Care Network previously held an agreement with the University of Toledo Medical Center, but the hospital did not renew the partnership in 2013. In response, the abortion provider formed a transfer agreement with the University of Michigan Health Systems in Ann Arbor, about an hour away. State officials said the clinic was not local.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio noted in a statement that Capital Care Network’s case is supported by new legal precedent from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which a Republican-backed Texas admitting privileges requirement was struck down.

The Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart ruled in June 2015 that the clinic could remain open, reversing the 2014 health department order.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland panned DeWine’s appeal, saying the attorney general was putting politics before health care.

“His ongoing campaign to close Capital Care is a waste of taxpayer dollars and an effort to support an unconstitutional restriction on doctors. What is the point of having an attorney general in Ohio if he won’t recognize the law?” Copeland said in a statement.

Center for Choice, an abortion provider in Toledo, closed in 2013 after the facility lost its transfer agreement with the University of Toledo Medical Center.