News Abortion

Ohio Abortion Clinic Will Fight Government’s Shutdown Attempt (Updated)

Michelle D. Anderson

Transfer requirements serve no purpose outside of creating barriers to reproductive care: Abortion-related complications are very rare and federal law already requires hospitals to address patients who need emergency services.

UPDATE, December 15, 8:47 a.m.: Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman ruled Monday that Women’s Med Center could remain open while it fights to remain open amid the Republican-controlled state government’s shutdown attempt, WOSU reported.

Dayton’s only abortion care clinic is appealing a decision by the Ohio Department of Health to revoke the clinic’s license, citing a medically unnecessary transfer agreement law.

Rick Hodges, the state agency director, on Wednesday issued an adjudication order stating that he was refusing to renew the health-care facility license for Women’s Med Center of Dayton because it failed to secure a hospital transfer agreement.

Clinic officials filed an appeal on Friday, the Springfield News-Sun reported. Lawyers for Women’s Med Center requested an emergency motion to stay the state’s order in hopes the clinic could remain open while the court hears the appeal.

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The clinic argues that it has met all the requirements of Ohio’s medically unnecessary transfer provision.

The clinic, which opened in 2003, is one of about 250 licensed ambulatory surgical facilities in Ohio. Such institutions must be able to provide immediate transfer if hospitalization after surgery is required. The clinic’s license remained active as of Friday, according to the health department’s website.

Groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice have noted that these requirements serve no purpose outside of creating barriers to reproductive care: Abortion-related complications are very rare and federal law already requires hospitals to address patients who need emergency services.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio noted in a statement that the revocation order was issued while the clinic was in the process of working to meet the state’s requirements for on-call backup physicians.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said the order arrived just six months after Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s decision ruling unconstitutional the admitting-privileges and surgical-center requirements of Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion law.

Hodges’ order is one of many recent anti-choice measures in Ohio, where abortion care patients face a forced 24-hour waiting period. Kasich and the state’s GOP-majority legislature have led a legislative assault on abortion access, though the courts have blocked some of the anti-choice measures.

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