Ohio Officials Tell Judge to Close Toledo’s Last Abortion Clinic

State   Steven Ertelt   May 29, 2014   |   12:40PM    Toledo, OH

The Toledo, Ohio-based Capital Care abortion business is challenging an order by the state of Ohio to close down because of health and safety violations.

But the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is standing by its opinion that Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic is not complying with a state law requiring its abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges with a local hospital to admit women injured by botched abortions. If a judge agrees with the state, Toledo may soon be abortion free as the state of Ohio has closed down the second of two abortion facilities that have closed up shop last year.

ohiologo2bCapital Care Network of Toledo was provided notice by state health officials of its noncompliance, which according to state law, will result in the abortion provider closing in order to protect pregnant women’s health.

According to Ohio law, Capital Care exists as an Ambulatory Surgical Facility and because of this status, the clinic is not a full-service medical facility. In order for Capital Care Network of Toledo to operate legally, the clinic has to have a transfer agreement with a full-service hospital to handle all cases of abortion complications against the mother.

From a story on Ohio’s latest actions:

In a legal brief, released to a state hearing officer Wednesday, attorneys for the state shot down arguments that were offered by the Capital Care Network in defense of its transfer agreement with the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Capital Care is fighting to remain open and is contesting a state health department order that it shut down because it does not have a transfer agreement with a local hospital. Earlier this month, Capital Care tried to make its case that the Ann Arbor hospital system, more than 50 miles away, qualifies as a “local” hospital under the new law.

The AG’s office responded to those arguments Wednesday saying, “To find that Capital Care Network has a transfer agreement with a local hospital, the hearing examiner must find that Ann Arbor, Michigan, is local to Toledo, Ohio, for the purposes of transporting a patient needing emergency medical care. Doing so would jeopardize patient safety and would expand the word ‘local’ far beyond the legislative intent and common sense definitions of the word.”

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Republican legislators and Gov. John Kasich added language to the state budget last year requiring ambulatory surgical centers, such as abortion clinics, to have emergency-care agreements in place with local hospitals if problems arise that the clinic isn’t equipped to handle. The law also prohibits public hospitals from entering into such an agreement.

The president of Ohio right to Life says the pro-life laws the state has passed have helped in closing noncompliant abortion clinics.

“Ohio Right to Life’s legislative initiatives are successfully protecting women’s health and saving lives as evidenced with this upcoming closure,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Holding abortion clinics to high standards to protect the safety of pregnant women is a health initiative all Ohioans can agree upon.”