Yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving the ordered closure of Capital Care Network of Toledo, the city’s last-remaining abortion facility. After failing to secure a transfer-agreement with a local hospital, Capital Care Network of Toledo was ordered closed by the Ohio Department of Health in 2014. The abortion facility filed a lawsuit, and won in the Lucas County Common Pleas Court and later in the 6th District Court of Appeals of Lucas County. In September 2016, Pro-life Attorney General Mike DeWine filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court.
“Rather than giving the abortion industry a free pass, the Ohio Supreme Court should look to the letter of the law and see that Capital Care Network has simply failed to comply with a very basic emergency requirement that has been on the books for two decades,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “If this were any other sector of the health care industry, the facility would be shut down. Performing abortions shouldn’t give a facility special permission to have lower standards of care than every other surgical facility in the state. Ohio Right to Life thanks Attorney General DeWine for defending the health and safety of women and children all the way to the Supreme Court.”
Ohio’s original transfer agreement law dates back to 1996 and applies to all ambulatory surgical facilities. In 2013, Ohio Right to Life advocated for a law that would prohibit taxpayer-funded hospitals from entering into such agreements with abortion facilities. Before the passage of the law, the University of Toledo, which was in contract with the facility, voluntarily terminated its agreement with Capital Care Network of Toledo. Unable to secure an agreement with one of the several private hospitals in Lucas County, Capital Care negotiated one with a hospital in Michigan. The Ohio Department of Health determined that this agreement did not meet the law’s requirement that the agreement be “local.”
“We fully anticipate the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold the Department of Health’s decision,” said Gonidakis. “Even if abortion is legal, no abortion facility is guaranteed a ‘right’ to operate, especially if it cannot adequately care for women in emergencies. If our state takes women’s health seriously, it is crucial that we hold abortion facilities to the same standards as the traditional medical community. ”
In 2015, 986 abortions occurred in Lucas County, a 34.5 percent increase from the previous year.