Late-Term Abortion Facility Desperately Tries to Stay Open Despite Breaking Health Laws

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 10, 2019   |   5:25PM   |   Dayton, Ohio

A late-term abortion facility in Ohio is trying desperately to remain open after it failed to meet a state health regulation that ensures patients with emergency complications receive proper care.

Back in 2016, the Ohio Department of Health revoked the license of the Women’s Med Center in Kettering, near Dayton, 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 then.

The abortion facility 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.’”

This week, the abortion facility asked the Ohio Supreme Court to reject a lower court ruling against it, the AP reports. Its lawyers argued that the transfer agreement regulation is politically motivated and not medically necessary.

The state Supreme Court refused to hear another appeal from the abortion facility in August, so the move appears to be a final effort from the abortion facility to stay open.

Jennifer Branch, an attorney for Women’s Med Center, said she expects the state Supreme Court to rule on the matter before the end of the year.

In mid August, 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.

Haskell is well-known as a late-term abortionist and possibly the inventor of the partial-birth abortion procedure, which is now illegal.

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 late last month.

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

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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 first state Supreme Court decision.

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 in August.

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 in August. “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.