By Cheryl Sullenger
Toledo, OH – This morning, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart blocked an order issued by the Ohio Department of Health to close the Capital Care Network, an abortion facility in Toledo, Ohio. Duhart’s decision will allow the abortion business to stay open while it appeals the Ohio Department of Health action.
Lance Himes, ODH’s Interim Director, rescinded the facility’s license last week and ordered it to shut down by August 12, 2014. Capital Care Network owners immediately appealed.
Capital Care Network holds no valid hospital transfer agreement as required by law. Revocation of the clinic’s license and order to close was recommended by a state hearing officer who heard testimony concerning request to close the facility in March.
“It is a shame that one judge, who has only been exposed to a minimal amount of information about the case, can override the decision of a legislature that spent months passing the law, the decision of a governor who signed the law, the decision of a hearing officer who heard hours of testimony before recommending enforcement, and countless officials at the ODH who investigated and determined that it was in the public’s interest to close the facility,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “In the meantime, women will have no access to continuity of care in the event of an emergency and are being placed at risk daily.”
Duhart’s ruling to keep the substandard Capital Care Network open comes in the wake of last week’s federal court ruling that an Alabama law requiring abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facilities is unconstitutional since it would close three out of five abortion facilities left in that state.
Just days before the Alabama ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals left in place an injunction barring a similar law from taking effect in Mississippi and closing the last remaining abortion facility in that state. A Texas trial challenging the a similar provision in Texas is expected to conclude on Wednesday.
The Ohio law differs from those in Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas in that it only requires that abortion facilities maintain a valid transfer agreement with a “local” hospital. Capital Care Network attempted to stretch the term “local” to include a hospital in Michigan fifty miles away with which it had made a transfer agreement. The ODH rejected that agreement as being too far away and in another state where the ODH had no jurisdiction.
“We have every reason to believe that these recent court rulings will eventually be overturned and that the abortion facilities that are currently operating in conditions that violate the law will eventually close down,” said Newman. “The protection of the public is a primary duty of the states, and there can be no doubt that these abortion facilities are endangering the public by failing to comply with minimum safety regulations. Eventually common sense must prevail.”
The next hearing in the Capital Care Network’s appeal of the closure order is September 4 at 10 a.m.