COLUMBUS —The fight over the operating license of Toledo’s last abortion clinic is headed to the state’s highest court.
By a vote of 5-2, the Ohio Supreme Court today agreed to hear the state’s appeal of last year’s decision blocking it from shuttering Capital Care Network because it lacks a required emergency transfer agreement with a “local” hospital.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justice William O’Neill were the sole dissents in the decision to hear the case.
The 6th District Court of Appeals had upheld a ruling from Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart that had prevented the Ohio Department of Health from enforcing its 2014 order that the clinic close.
The Ohio Supreme Court will hear the state’s appeal of last year’s decision blocking it from shuttering Capital Care Network because it lacks a required emergency transfer agreement with a 'local' hospital.
The clinic had scrambled to find a hospital willing to agree to such a written transfer agreement after the University of Toledo opted not to renew its deal. After facing rejection from local hospitals and others elsewhere in Ohio, Capital Care entered into an agreement with the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.
The state’s health director at the time determined that a hospital some 50 miles away did not qualify as “local”, even though the term at the time was not defined in state law. State lawmakers have since passed, and Gov. John Kasich has signed, a new law defining a “local” hospital as being within 30 miles.
It has also prohibited publicly funded hospitals from participating in such an agreement.
The 6th District found that the state had violated the “undue burden” test set by the U.S. Supreme Court. If Capital Care were shuttered, women would have to travel to clinics in Cleveland, Columbus, or Detroit to obtain abortions, it said.
The decision to hear the case came one day after the state’s latest law restricting abortion took effect to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Mr. Kasich signed the bill at the same time that he vetoed a separate measure that would have banned nearly all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, as early as six weeks of gestation.
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-221-0496.
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