clinic to halt surgical abortions due to 2013 state law
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[August 21, 2014]
By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A suburban Cincinnati
clinic will stop performing surgical abortions as a result of a 2013
state law that bars agreements to move women needing emergency care to
public hospitals, an attorney for the clinic said on Wednesday.
The Ohio Department of Health had ordered Women’s Med in
Sharonville, also known as Lebanon Road Surgery Center, closed after
it could not procure a required transfer agreement with a
non-publicly financed hospital.
Hamilton County Judge Jerome Metz stayed the order in January, but
ruled last week he did not have jurisdiction to continue his stay.
The clinic decided not to appeal, according to clinic attorney
Langsam said the clinic will still provide other women's health
services, and is considering the option of medical abortions, in
which drugs rather than surgery end a pregnancy.
Women’s Med is the only clinic within 100 miles that provided
abortions between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy, which often address
fetal anomalies and high-risk pregnancies, clinic spokeswoman
Valerie Haskell said in a statement.
"This fight has everything to do with politics and absolutely
nothing to do with patient safety or care," Haskell said.
Ohio abortion clinics are required to have hospital transfer
agreements so patients can be admitted in case of complications.
Last year, Ohio became the first state in the country to block
taxpayer-financed public hospitals from forming transfer agreements
with abortion providers. Clinics must have arrangements with private
hospitals, or doctors with privileges at such hospitals.
A push by conservative Republicans to put fresh restrictions on
abortion at the state level has resulted in a rash of new
legislation over the past three years.
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"If a facility fails to ensure that they are operating at the
legally required health and safety standards to protect women then
certainly they should close," said Michael Gonidakis, president of
Ohio Right to Life, an anti-abortion group.
Four other Ohio abortion clinics have chosen to close since the
beginning of 2013, according to Kellie Copeland, executive director
of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. Three licenses for clinics in Cincinnati,
Dayton and Toledo are pending with the health department.
Copeland said she believes Republican Governor John Kasich wants to
close the remaining Cincinnati clinic, which would leave the largest
metropolitan area in America without an abortion provider.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Eric Walsh)
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