Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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Pro-choice group calls on Ohio justice to step away from cases

Justice Sharon Kennedy, who spoke at Right For Life event, urged to recuse herself

An Ohio pro-choice group is demanding Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy step down from deciding a court case that could decide whether Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic will remain open.

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Justice Kennedy

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The call from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio for Justice Kennedy to recuse herself was made following her speech today to the Greater Toledo Right to Life during the anti-abortion group's annual legislative briefing breakfast.

Kelly Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said Justice Kennedy should not take part in the case because the event helped raise money for an organization that promoted the law being challenged.

"Justice Sharon Kennedy should recuse herself from any case related to legislation that was proposed and supported by the anti-abortion groups that endorsed her candidacy to avoid any appearance of impropriety," she said.

The case before the court involves the 2014 order of the Ohio Department of Health ordering Capital Care Network to close its surgical center in West Toledo. The clinic had been ordered to close because it did not have a transfer agreement with a “local” hospital to provide emergency care for its patients.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart reversed the health department order in 2015. His decision was upheld last year by the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court said this week that it would hear the state’s appeal.

Justice Kennedy was the keynote speaker at the Greater Toledo Right to Life event.

Ed Sitter, executive director of Greater Toledo Right to Life, said he asked Justice Kennedy to speak to his group in December. He said she spoke about the Ohio constitution and the relationship of the judicial system to the legislative and executive branches.

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