Ohio Health Department Allows Abortion Clinic to Violate Law to Stay Open

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2014   |   3:36PM   |   Columbus, OH

The Ohio Health Department is coming under fire today for allowing a Planned Parenthood abortion business to stay open and to get around a state law to remain in business.

Ohio Department of Health Director Rick Hodges has granted a variance to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s abortion headquarters on Auburn Ave. in Cincinnati. The department decided to accept doctors with privileges at area hospitals to cover for patient emergencies, rather than a transfer agreement as required by state law.

plannedparenthood138No area hospital will grant this Planned Parenthood affiliate a transfer agreement. The variance goes beyond hospitals’ decisions and permits Planned Parenthood to remain open using their services. Planned Parenthood has canceled its lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health director.

A leading local pro-life advocate said the decision was made to avoid a lawsuit from the nation’s biggest abortion chain. Responding to the threat from the state health department, the abortion center has filed suit and now that lawsuit may be dropped.

“To avoid a lawsuit, the Ohio Department of Health has catered to the abortion industry and thus ensured continued wounding of women and the death of their unborn babies,” said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati.  “Prayer and witness will continue at this facility for as long as it takes to ensure that every life, born and unborn, is guaranteed the gift of life.”

Recently, Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facility, the Elizabeth Campbell Surgical Center, was cited by the Ohio Department of Health for failure to obtain a transfer agreement. Such agreements, which help protect women who are victimized by botched abortions, are required by an Ohio Right to Life legislative initiative signed into law last summer.

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The citation from the Ohio health department serves as a warning that the facility, which as of this summer is Cincinnati’s last abortion clinic, could be shut down.

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati tells LifeNews that the case is filed in protest of the Ohio law requiring abortion providing ambulatory surgical facilities to have a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital to cover patient emergencies. Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio cannot obtain a transfer agreement from any area hospital, and is thus seeking a variance (exception) to have doctors with privileges at The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati–David Schwartz, Michael Draznik, and Tari Anderson–to cover patient emergencies.

“By law, granting a variance to the transfer agreement requirement is entirely up to the discretion of the director of the Ohio Department of Health,” said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “This case presumes that Planned Parenthood is entitled to this special preference simply by submitting a request.”

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews in an email: “What amazes me is that no other hospital in the greater Hamilton County area chooses to do business with Planned Parenthood. If Ohio’s health care industry rejects the abortion industry, why can’t Ohioans?”