Abortion Clinic That Does Abortions Up to Birth May Close After State Denies Its License

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 28, 2019   |   4:58PM   |   Dayton, Ohio

Ohio health officials refused a licensing request from a late-term abortion facility in Dayton this week after it failed to meet basic health and safety standards.

Back in 2016, the Ohio Department of Health revoked the license of the Women’s Med Center for failing to have a written transfer agreement with a hospital for patient emergency situations. However, the abortion facility challenged the action in court and has been allowed to operate without a license since that time.

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by abortionist Martin Haskell, who runs the Kettering facility. The ruling meant that state health officials could move a step closer to closing the facility where about 3,000 unborn babies are aborted every year.

The Columbus Dispatch recently learned that the abortion facility requested a waiver from the transfer agreement requirement, but Ohio Health Director Amy Acton denied the request on Monday.

Though the abortion facility still is open, it could close soon as a result of the two decisions.

Here’s more from the report:

In a letter Monday to clinic attorneys, Acton wrote, that the variance request was irrelevant “now that the Ohio Supreme Court has declined jurisdiction in the litigation regarding the 2016 revocation, that revocation is final, and (Women’s Med Center’s) license is revoked.”

In addition, the clinic’s request, which named four backup physicians in case of emergency, “does not sufficiently address how coverage by the back-up physicians is to occur and in what order the back-up physicians should be contacted.”

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At this point, the clinic “may apply for a new ambulatory surgical facility license by submitting a complete application,” Acton wrote.

According to the Dispatch, separate litigation involving the abortion facility is on-going in federal court, so the abortion business likely will remain open for now. The pro-abortion group NARAL told the AP that the abortion facility “will continue to pursue options to continue to provide safe and legal abortion” after the Supreme Court decision.

Haskell is well-known as a late-term abortionist and possibly the inventor of the partial-birth abortion procedure, which is now banned. His facility in Dayton advertised abortions up to 22 weeks, though the watchdog group Operation Rescue suspects it “still conducts abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy for ‘fetal indications.’”

In 2016, the state revoked the abortion facility’s license after it failed to comply with a state law requiring that all ambulatory surgical facilities have written transfer agreements with local hospitals in case of patient emergencies.

The Second District Court of Appeals in Ohio upheld the department’s decision, and the state Supreme Court refused to hear Haskell’s appeal of that ruling last week.

Pro-life advocates expressed relief at the decisions.

“Every surgical facility in the state of Ohio is required to have a transfer agreement which protects women’s health,” Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis said last week. “There are no loopholes for abortion clinics. Both the Court of Appeals and today the Supreme Court have reaffirmed the Department of Health’s order for this clinic to be closed. No reasonable person believes this so-called clinic should remain open if they can’t follow basic health and safety standards.”

Margie Christie, executive director of Dayton Right to Life and president of the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, also was thankful.

“We thank the Department of Health and the Attorney General’s Office for pursuing this matter and working to close this blight on our community,” she said.

This is the second such legal battle involving Haskell and the state Department of Health. In 2014, the state shut down his Sharonville, Ohio, abortion facility for similar health and safety violations.

Earlier this year, Operation Rescue documented an emergency complication at the facility. According to 911 records received by the pro-life group, the Dayton abortion facility called an ambulance for a woman who was unconscious and having seizures after aborting her unborn baby.