Planned Parenthood is Breaking State Law to Keep an Ohio Abortion Clinic Open, Judge Says That’s OK

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 14, 2015   |   4:25PM   |   Columbus, OH

An Ohio judge has stopped the state health department and pro-life Governor John Kasich from closing two Cincinnati-area abortion clinics that have been breaking state law. That includes a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic at a time when the abortion company is facing national attention over its sale of aborted babies.

The Ohio Department of Health has denied requests for variances submitted by two abortion clinics citing they failed to meet the minimum requirements that would qualify for them. The abortion facilities had requested that they be exempt from a state law that mandates abortion facilities to maintain hospital transfer agreements.

The Women’s Med Center in Dayton and Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati have been unable to qualify for hospital transfer agreements and sought the exemption by submitting an agreement with other physicians to provide emergency care for their botched abortion patients. However, the clinics were unable to secure the required four physicians with hospital privileges who were willing to treat women hospitalized with abortion-related complications.

Without the variances, both facility licenses have been revoked, but the clinics have 30 days to appeal the ruling. Both are allowed to stay open during that time.

This action came as a result of a new Ohio law that requires that the Ohio Department of Health to rule on license renewals and variance requests within 60 days. However, an Ohio judge has prevented the state from closing the abortion clinics.

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Here’s more on the latest ruling:

On Tuesday U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett issued a preliminary injunction against an Ohio law requiring abortion clinics to have a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital in cases of emergency, allowing abortion clinics in Cincinnati and in Dayton to stay open for now.

Barrett wrote the abortion clinics had a “likelihood of success” moving forward with the case.

The “variance” the abortion clinics are seeking is from a law passed two years ago that requires ambulatory surgical facilities to have a written transfer agreement with a local hospital to provide continued care in the event of emergencies. As of September 2015, the Ohio Department of Health was required to review applications within a reasonable timeframe.

In a decision last year reached on the challenge brought by Lebanon Road Surgery Center, Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jerome Metz Jr. ruled it is the Ohio Department of Health’s “sole discretion” whether it gives a variance to the requirement that abortion clinics have a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital in cases of emergency.

“If a facility cannot obtain an agreement, it may request a variance from the law, providing a sufficient number of backup physicians,” according to Ohio Right to Life. “The denial follows Governor John Kasich’s enactment of a new policy that requires the Department of Health to respond to a facility’s license application in reasonable time.”

“Cincinnati Planned Parenthood is under scrutiny for not following health and safety laws yet is permitted to remain open and see patients,” Paula Westwood, executive director of Greater Cincinnati Right to Life, said. “What other medical facility would be granted such a pass? For that matter, what hair salon, or restaurant?”

“The continued coddling protection of a facility that preys upon women and their unborn children is stunning,” Westwood added.

Ohio Right to Life provided more information to on this decision:

Last week, the Ohio Department of Health revoked two licenses from Southwest Ohio abortion facilities, an exciting move which could make Cincinnati the largest abortion-free metropolitan area in the country. Well-intentioned pro-lifers are now stirring up fear that a deal was made between the governor’s administration and the clinics to keep these facilities open during their appeal process. These false attacks on pro-life Governor John Kasich are unfounded.

For years, Planned Parenthood of SW Ohio and Martin Haskell’s Kettering abortion clinics have been unable to obtain the transfer agreements required by state law for all ambulatory surgical facilities. While they have been granted variances in the past to that requirement, the Ohio Department of Health denied both this past month. The clinics have appealed the decision and a judge has ordered that the clinics be allowed to remain open while the case is pending. All of this is happening even as Ohio lawmakers and Governor Kasich enacted laws strengthening Ohio’s health and safety standards for these clinics, which took effect this week.

Since Governor Kasich took office, half of Ohio’s abortion facilities have closed and abortions have fallen 25%. As much as we may disagree with the judge’s decision to allow these two clinics to continue to operate despite the fact that they are not complying with the law, there is no guarantee that we would have seen a different outcome had the Department waited another week to issue the denials. Regardless of when the decision was made, Planned Parenthood and Haskell would have appealed the decision, and more likely than not been granted a stay. This is what happened one year ago when Haskell’s Sharonville facility closed, as mounting legal costs forced him to stop surgical abortions there.

“The truth is that Governor Kasich’s administration made the decision to revoke these abortion facilities’ licenses,” said Stephanie Krider, Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life. “Interpreting some kind of ‘backroom deal’ with abortionists does disservice to the facts and the administration’s track record for helping bring abortions to the lowest level in 40 years.”