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Toledo's last abortion clinic files appeal

Seeks to reverse Ohio Department of Health order revoking license

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Capital Care Network is appealing the health department order last month revoking its license on Aug. 12

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Capital Care Network, Toledo's only remaining abortion clinic, has filed an appeal asking the courts to reverse an order issued by the Ohio Department of Health and allow the clinic to stay open.

Attorneys for the clinic filed the legal documents in Lucas County Common Pleas Court this week and the case has been assigned to Judge Myron Duhart.

Capital Care is appealing the health department order last month revoking its license on Aug. 12 to operate as an ambulatory surgical facility, which it needs to perform abortion services.

Lance Himes, interim director of the Ohio Department of Health, signed the order to revoke the clinic's license based on a recommendation from a state hearing examiner in June that the clinic be shuttered because it does not hold a valid emergency-care agreement with a local hospital, a requirement of state law.

The two-year state budget passed last year cemented in law what had previously been an administrative rule within the health department requiring ambulatory surgical centers to have agreements with hospitals to transfer patients if complications arise.

Lawmakers then went a step further by requiring that agreement to be with a “local” hospital, without defining what that meant.

The University of Toledo Medical Center chose not to renew its agreement with Capital Care as of July 31, 2013. The budget later prohibited public hospitals like UTMC, the former Medical College of Ohio, from entering into such agreements.

The clinic struggled for months to find a hospital with which to partner before entering into an agreement in January with the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor — more than 50 miles away — to provide emergency care in case of complications with its patients.

In the appeal, attorneys for Capital Care argue that the license was improperly revoked because Capital Care did have a written transfer agreement with a hospital. They also stated in the court document that the decision is not supported by “substantial evidence.”

Terri Hubbard, the owner of Capital Care, has vowed to stay open and to continue operating Capital Care as a women's clinic, no matter what happens with the appeal.

The clinic would offer gynecological services as well as abortion counseling, Ms. Hubbard said.

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