January 31, 2014 — An Ohio abortion clinic on Tuesday appealed the state's order that it close for violating a requirement that such facilities have hospital transfer agreements, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/29).
The dispute involves an Ohio law that requires ambulatory surgical facilities -- including abortion clinics -- to have transfer agreements with local hospitals in case of emergencies. In September, provisions in the state budget took effect that require abortion clinics to secure the patient transfer agreements with private hospitals and prohibit them from making such arrangements with public hospitals, among other restrictions.
Earlier this month, the Ohio Department of Health ordered the clinic -- Women's Med Center in Sharonsville, Ohio -- to close after denying its request for reprieve from the state requirements (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/23).
The clinic will have to close by Feb. 4 unless the state Court of Common Pleas agrees to stay the order, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The state rules could force up to seven of the state's 14 clinics to close, the Enquirer reports.
In the appeal, Women's Med Center asked the court to order that the state renew the clinic's operating license and provide a temporary stay of the closure order while the case proceeds.
According to Women's Med Center, no local hospitals would provide a transfer agreement with the clinic because of "political pressure on local hospitals from anti-abortion activists."
Women's Med Center also said that under a variance to the rules approved under former Gov. Ted Strickland (D), the clinic has "safely operated and provided services to women in Cincinnati without a hospital transfer agreement and will continue to do so" (Thompson, Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/28).