The America Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday challenging a new Ohio law that could close two abortion facilities this spring.
Statehouse News Bureau reports the ACLU argues that the law would allow the state health department to unfairly revoke the licenses of the Women’s Med Center in Dayton and a Planned Parenthood in southwestern Ohio. It filed the lawsuit in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.
Ohio requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with local hospitals for the purposes of treating patients suffering from serious complications. A variance allows abortion facilities to have consulting agreements with local doctors instead.
The new law, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed in December, amends the variance provision by prohibiting abortion facilities from having consulting agreements with doctors who work for taxpayer-funded hospitals, universities or other public institutions.
Both the Women’s Med Center and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio operate under this variance. Unless they find other doctors or hospitals to work with by March 23, the Ohio Department of Health could revoke their licenses.
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This law “protects taxpayer dollars from funding abortion by preventing doctors who work for state-funded hospitals and medical schools from contracting with abortion clinics,” said Mark Harrington, president of the Ohio-based pro-life organization Created Equal. “The ACLU and Planned Parenthood want to continue using taxpayer money to kill more innocent preborn children.”
The ACLU and the Ohio abortion facilities asked the court to block the state from enforcing the law. Kersha Deibel, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, complained that the law is unfair, and they may have to close if it goes into effect, according to the report.
“It overcomplicates the process and creates additional hoops and loops that abortion providers here in Ohio have to go through in order for patients to get care,” Deibel said.
If both abortion facilities close, Cincinnati would be “the biggest metropolitan in Ohio without an abortion provider,” according to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio.
Along with the variance changes, the new law creates penalties for abortionists who fail to preserve the health or life of a child who survives an abortion. It also requires abortionists to report to the Ohio Department of Health when a baby is born alive in a botched abortion.
According to state health data, 20,605 unborn babies were aborted in 2020 in Ohio.