NRL News

Judge orders stay, hearing on order closing Toledo’s only abortion clinic to be heard in September

by | Aug 12, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart

With one day to spare, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart issued a stay Monday that allowed Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic to continue in operation while Capital Care Network appeals a directive from the Ohio Health Department to close its surgical center.

Melanie Amato, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health, said the department has no comment on the appeal because the case is pending litigation.

According to the Toledo Blade’s Marlene Harris-Taylor, “The first hearing date for the appeal before Judge Duhart is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 4.”

In documents filed with the court, attorneys for Capital Care Network (CCN) argued that to close the clinic while it appeals the state’s decision would cause harm to the local community. “Thousands of women depend upon Capital Care for safe pregnancy termination services each year, however, if the state forces Capital Care to close its doors, women in the Toledo area will have to cross the border to Michigan or travel hours away to Cleveland or Columbus,” the clinic wrote.

In Ohio, to perform abortions, a clinic must qualify as an ambulatory surgical facility (ASF). ASFs must have agreements with a local hospital to transfer patients if complications arise.

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CCN had a one-year arrangement with the University of Toledo Medical Center, but UTMC exercised its option not to renew, effective July 1, 2013. Unable to find an Ohio hospital, the abortion clinic signed an agreement with the Ann Arbor hospital, effective late this past January.

“State law doesn’t define ‘local,’ but the state’s health director at the time, Dr. Ted Wymyslo, determined that the University of Michigan Health System, about 53 miles away, doesn’t qualify,” Jim Provance of the Blade wrote.

CCN appealed.

On July 31, Lance Himes, interim director of the Ohio Department of Health, signed the order to revoke the clinic’s license effective August 13. Himes’ decision upheld a decision, written by William J. Kepko, an Ohio Department of Health hearing examiner, who ruled the state’s decision to revoke the clinic’s license as an ambulatory surgical center was valid.

Categories: Abortion Clinic