What you need to know about Ohio Politics and Policy
· January 23, 2014
Cincinnati in Danger of Losing All Abortion Clinics
The most recent budget enacted a law that requires all abortion clinics to have a transfer agreement in place with a hospital to accept patients experiencing complications. The law further forbids public hospitals from entering into such transfer agreements, forcing clinics to turn to private hospitals, many of which have religious affiliations.
The law does offer a workaround, permitting the state Health Director to issue a variance for clinics without a transfer agreement in place. Unable to obtain a transfer agreement, Women’s Med – a Sharonville abortion clinic – recently requested a variance from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
On Friday, January 17, ODH announced it would not grant the variance, forcing Women’s Med to close. The clinic plans to file an appeal and will be permitted to remain open until the case is fully resolved. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that a variance will be granted.
The other remaining Cincinnati-area clinic, the Elizabeth Campbell Surgical Center, saw its transfer agreement with the University of Cincinnati Academic Health System end in September. Unable to renew the agreement, the clinic has also requested a variance from ODH. If both clinics close, Cincinnati will be the largest metropolitan area in the country without an abortion clinic. At the beginning of 2013, Ohio had fourteen abortion clinics, but soon may have just seven.
Clearly Governor Kasich’s budget is having its intended effect.