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Toledo Abortion Clinic Loses Lawsuit in Ohio Supreme Court

Summary: An abortion clinic lost their fight against Ohio’s heightened regulations.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against a Toledo abortion clinic who had sued the state over increased regulations. The clinic had claimed that the escalating restrictions created unconstitutional hardships, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

The Ohio Department of Health revoked the license of Capital Care of Toledo, and the clinic which performed abortions, sued. The state had ruled in favor of the Department of Health, and on Tuesday, the Supreme Court had agreed with the state.

Capital Care of Toledo had challenged the constitutionality of abortion-related restrictions in Ohio, but the court ruled that the Health Department had acted lawfully in 2014 when they shut down the abortion clinic, which was the last one in the city. The Supreme Court Justices ruled 5-2 that the clinic did not have a valid-transfer agreement and that is why it closed.

The majority opinion was written by Justice William M. O’Neill before he resigned in January. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor penned a dissent and said that the abortion-related laws were unconstitutional.

The laws in question required that abortion clinics’ must have transfer agreements with local hospitals but not public ones, which were forbidden to provide them. Before the law was enacted, the University of Toledo Hospital ended its transfer agreement with Capital Care. Capital Care went out of state and negotiated with the University of Michigan Health System, but Ohio outlawed agreements that were between health organizations that were more than 52 miles away.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said that Ohio’s laws created an administrative burden on abortion clinics, and she said she was “gravely concerned” that the laws will negatively impact women seeking abortions.

ProMedica, an Ohio non-profit medical care provider that has remained neutral on the issue of abortion, told the Toledo Blade after the Supreme Court decision that they were reviewing this case.

“At this point, ProMedica has not changed its position; obviously we’re considering it,” ProMedica spokesman Tedra White said. “We feel like this Ohio Supreme Court decision warrants a review of the issue, but we have not changed our position [at this time].”

Pro-choice activists had wanted ProMedica to sign a transfer agreement with Capital Care, and they told the Toledo Blade that they will continue asking that the organization take a stand on this issue.

“I know ProMedica and St. Luke’s would prefer to remain neutral on abortion, and I am appalled that Governor Kasich, and now the Supreme Court of Ohio, has put them in this position,” NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said. “However, ProMedica or St. Luke’s must either sign a transfer agreement with Capital Care Network or admit they are a part of Kasich’s quiet strategy to eliminate abortion access in Ohio. In the interest of women’s health, they must sign a transfer agreement with Capital Care Network.”

St. Luke’s told the Toledo Blade that they have yet to be approached by pro-choice activists into working with Capital Care.

While the Supreme Court’s decision was unsatisfying to those who are pro-choice, pro-life activists have expressed their approval.

“We are delighted that the court decided to rule on the law. They didn’t rule on peripheral stuff to obscure the real issue,” Ed Sitter, executive director of Foundation for Life Northwest Ohio, told the Toledo Blade.

What do you think of Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision? Let us know in the comments below.

Teresa Lo :