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Ohio Supreme Court Could Close Toledo’s Last Abortion Clinic

pro life group protests abortion clinic at ohio court

Ohio Right to Life dropped a bombshell Tuesday just as the Ohio Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a case that could mean the closure of Toledo’s last abortion clinic.

Abortion opponents told the Columbus Dispatch the Capital Care Network case was “the most significant abortion case” in Ohio’s history.

Pro-choice advocates said a ruling against Capital Care could result in Toledo becoming the first large city in the state where women would not have access to abortion services.

Attorney Jennifer Branch warned in a brief filed on behalf of the clinic that if the Supreme Court rules against Capital Care women would be forced to travel 240 miles, round trip to Cleveland, or 300 miles to and from Columbus to get abortions.

“These challenges are exacerbated by Ohio’s mandatory delay law for abortion, which forces patients to make the round trip — and miss work, lose wages, and pay for transportation and child care — at least twice,” Branch’s brief added.

And that is only the first of two cases the state’s highest court will hear that are considered to be pivotal by Ohio pro-choice and pro-life groups.

The second case, which will be heard by the state Supreme Court on Sept. 26, is a lawsuit that challenged a state law that required abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with local hospitals for emergencies or medical complications.

The revelation Washington Examiner columnist Nicole Russell referred to as a “smoking gun” didn’t make it into any of the court filings for the first case.

But, on the same day that state Supreme Court justices heard arguments in the Capital Care Network case, Ohio Right to Life announced that the Ohio Department of Health issued a significant civil fine of $40,000 against the last remaining abortion clinic in Toledo.

The state health department investigation was the result of pro-life activists reporting Capital Care Network didn’t follow their own medical emergencies procedure after a doctor believed he might have perforated a woman’s bowel during an abortion.

The pro-lifers recorded video of clinic workers putting the woman into an employee’s car for a ride to a local hospital rather than calling 911.

“Will a woman have to die before this facility is shut down for good?” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Capital Care Network proves yet again that it cares more about capital than care.”

A Supreme Court ruling against Capital Network on the case heard Tuesday could close the clinic’s doors. The Ohio Department of Health ordered the clinic closed in 2014 because it failed to work out a transfer agreement, as required by state law, with a nearby hospital to handle patient emergencies.

“You’re destroying healthcare for women, and as a woman I am offended,” Sen. Charleta Tavares (D) said during floor debate over the patient-transfer law in 2013.