Ohio Supreme Court rejects appeal from abortion clinic trying to stay open

An ambulance arrives at the Women's Med Center, an abortion clinic in the Dayton, Ohio area.
An ambulance arrives at the Women's Med Center, an abortion clinic in the Dayton, Ohio area. | Facebook/John Naughton Sr.

The Ohio Supreme Court rejected an abortion clinic's argument that it should be able to remain open without hospital admitting privileges.

In an announcement released Wednesday, the state’s highest court voted 4-3 to decline to take up an appeal in the case of Women’s Medical Center of Dayton v. State of Ohio Department of Health.  

At issue was the state’s refusal to renew the Women’s Medical Center’s ambulatory surgical facility license due to the abortion clinic failing to get a transfer agreement with a hospital.

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NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland denounced the Ohio Supreme Court’s refusal to take up the challenge, but said in a statement that they will keep trying to get the agreement.

“This clinic is still open, and abortion is available in Dayton for those who need it,” stated Copeland, as reported by the Dayton Daily News.

Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis celebrated the high court’s decision, stating that he believed the Women’s Medical Center should close.

“Every surgical facility in the state of Ohio is required to have a transfer agreement which protects women’s health. There are no loopholes for abortion clinics,” stated Gonidakis, as reported by The Columbus Dispatch.

“Both the Court of Appeals and (Wednesday) the Supreme Court have reaffirmed the Department of Health’s order for this clinic to be closed. No reasonable person believes this so-called clinic should remain open if they can’t follow basic health and safety standards.”

An order was issued by the Ohio Department of Health in November 2016 revoking the Center’s license and a trial court sided against the abortion clinic in a decision released in August 2018.

This put the abortion clinic in violation of a law enacted in 2013 that requires an “ambulatory surgical facility” to have a transfer agreement, according to the Dispatch.

In March, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals of Ohio unanimously upheld the trial court ruling, arguing that the state Department of Health was within its rights to deny the license.

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Ohio could defund Planned Parenthood, overturning an earlier ruling.

The Appeals Court ruled that a 2016 Ohio law mandating that the Ohio Department of Health refuse funding to entities that performs elective abortions was not unconstitutional, reasoning that they “do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”

“Today’s plaintiffs do not have a Fourteenth Amendment right to perform abortions,” concluded the court’s majority. “The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions. To the contrary, it has indicated that there is no such thing.”

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