A Tale of Two Cities: Ohio AG Appeals to State Supreme Court in Lengthy Abortion Transfer Agreement Case

toledo

By Cheryl Sullenger

Toledo, OH — Please excuse me if I sound impatient. After all, the lives and health of women and their babies are at risk – and have been at one particular abortion facility for over three years, with no end in sight.

Back in March of 2013, a hearing was held by the Ohio Department of Health seeking to terminate the facility license of a Toledo abortion facility, Capital Care Network (now known as the Toledo Women’s Center) for failing to meet licensing requirements.

In order to qualify for a license as an ambulatory surgical facility, Ohio law stipulates that the facility must have transfer agreements with hospitals to ensure prompt hospital care for patients in the event of an emergency.

That’s been the law in Ohio since 1996. It was even upheld by a Federal Court ten years ago.

This law is different from the provision struck down in June by the U.S. Supreme Court in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt where each abortionist was required to maintain local hospital privileges. The Ohio transfer agreement condition is a lower standard that is easier to meet.

In 2013, the regulation was codified. This time it included language that ensured that the transfer agreements were with “local” hospitals, a clarification that makes perfect sense. When one needs emergency medical care, a nearby hospital is preferable to one, say, in another state.

But the Capital Care Network (CCN) in Toledo didn’t see it that way. When the University of Toledo Hospital made the decision not to renew its transfer agreement with the abortion business when it expired on July 31, 2013, no hospital anywhere in the vicinity of Toledo, Ohio, wanted anything to do with CCN.

On August 3, 2013, the Department of Health proposed to revoke the ambulatory surgical facility license of CCN in Toledo.

But the facility did not immediately shut down, as one might expect. Instead, it continued to operate for almost five months without any hospital transfer agreement at all.

On January 16, 2014, the CCN entered into a transfer agreement with the only hospital that would have it, the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan. However, that hospital was in another state 52 miles away!

That agreement was rejected by the Department of Health for being in violation of the requirement for hospitals to be “local” to the location of the abortion facility. Ann Arbor, Michigan, could in no way be considered local to Toledo, Ohio, and was far beyond the 30 minute travel time that the Department ruled was the farthest a facility could be located to ensure the health of patients was protected.

Instead of shutting down, CCN requested a hearing, which was held a year later. All the while, the abortion facility that was in clear violation of a law meant to protect patient lives and safety remained open for business.

terriehubbardAt the hearing, the clinic owner/director, Terrie Hubbard, parsed the meaning of the word “local” and ludicrously proposed that she could comply with the 30 minute driving time by calling for a helicopter located outside Columbus to fly to Toledo, pick up her critically injured patients then fly them off to Michigan.

However, she also admitted that she had no arrangement in place for the helicopter service. It was doubtful if one could ever be made.

On July 29, 2014, nearly a year after CCN fell out of compliance with licensing requirements, an adjudication order was issued that ordered the facility to shut down.

But it never did. Instead, it filed suit to block the Ohio Department of Health from closing the dangerously-operating abortion facility.

The Lucas County Court of Common Pleas heard the case nearly a year after that and issued a decision on June 19, 2015, inexplicably favoring the abortion facility. It ruled that the law posed an “undue burden.”

The Attorney General’s office appealed.

It took yet another year for the Appeals Court to hear the case and render a decision. On July 29, 2016, nearly three years after CCN should have closed, the Appeals Court allowed the abortion facility to continue operating even though it could not comply with the law.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Mike DeWine filed notice with the Ohio Supreme Court to hear his final appeal on the CCN case.

timeline-in-ccn-case

One has to give him credit for trying, but the reality is that this case will likely not be decided for at least another year. By then, at least four years – perhaps more – will have passed since the Department of Health first attempted to enforce the hospital transfer agreement law.

Each day, CCN’s abortion customers literally play the equivalent of “Russian Roulette” with their lives. In the event of an emergency when minutes could mean the difference between life or death, they face the prospect of being sent to a hospital emergency room that is an hour away, or perhaps risk being dumped at an emergency room that has to waste precious time determining the extent of a patient’s injuries without the benefit of good communication with those that injured her.

The system that is keeping CCN dangerously open is simply inadequate to protect the public. It shouldn’t take years to shut down an abortion business that refuses to comply with the law. Abortion clinics are given one opportunity after another to delay by a system that cannot function without taking years and years to do it. This is placing women in unacceptable jeopardy.

Even when it comes to licensing inspections, CCN hasn’t been fully surveyed since 2011 – over five years ago. Who knows if the many gross deficiencies discovered at that time have ever been corrected? Certainly not the Department of Health.

But don’t think for one minute that CCN’s only problem is its out-of-state hospital transfer agreement. Its hired abortionists are a true “rogue’s gallery.”

Raymond Robinson: His Ohio medical license was suspended for six months in 1993 for prescribing over 5,000 doses of controlled substances to family members without performing physical examinations. In 2014, Robinson was criminally charged in Indiana for failing to report suspected cases of child sex abuse. Action against his medical license is pending in that state.
Thomas Michaelis: He worked at CCN before his arrest on child pornography charges in 2014. Operation Rescue sought an investigation into whether sex abuses took place at CCN during his employment there given his record of sex crimes involving children dating back to 1991. To date, there is no record that such an investigation ever took place.
Harley Blank: He was sued in 2013 for misdiagnosing an ectopic pregnancy, leaving a woman unable to ever bear another child.
David Burkons: He was charged by the Medical Board on December 9, 2015, for illegally distributing controlled substances, failing to note prescriptions in medical records, and more. Despite the potentially devastating impact on patient’s health, this case has yet to be resolved months later.

It is obvious that the disciplinary and licensing enforcement process needs to be dramatically reformed. It is ridiculous for cases where patient safety is at stake to take years upon years. But that’s not just an Ohio problem. That is how the system functions – or in most cases, malfunctions – in nearly every state.

How tragic that the lives and health of women are held in such low regard that those who pose the most danger are knowingly allowed to continue to place women in continual risk while the disciplinary process grinds along at a glacial pace.

If strict time limits are not going to be put in place, licenses should be suspended pending the resolution of cases, because human lives should be valued over someone’s job.

I’m a big believer in working peacefully through the system to end abortion. Through longsuffering patience, we have seen the licenses of abortionists revoked and abortion facilities closed. We have even seen some abortionists thankfully hauled off to jail because of our complaints. But the reality is that the regulatory system, and in some cases, the court system we depend upon for justice, needs a serious overhaul.

So yes, I’m impatient for the Capital Care Network of Toledo to be shut down by the state. I’m impatient for the abortionists that work there to be prohibited from hurting anyone else. I’m impatient to see the system actually work to protect lives of women and their babies rather than the industry that exploits them. We all should be. Maybe then we could see the reforms that are so desperately needed to protect human life.

Read Ohio’s Memorandum in Support of Jurisdiction in Capital Care Network of Toledo v. State of Ohio Department of Health.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law, Dooms Women to Substandard Care

SCOTUS

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court took a dangerous step backwards by striking down provisions of a Texas abortion law that provided that abortion providers maintain hospital privileges and meet ambulatory surgical center standards. The decision was 5-3 in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which challenged HB2, a sweeping Texas abortion licensing and safety law.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling has essentially relegated women to second-class citizens when it comes to abortion by allowing abortionists to evade meeting basic safety standards that are proven to save lives,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “We must remember why these safety rules were enacted. When abortion facilities are exempt from meeting safety standards, conditions and practices deteriorate and women are placed in jeopardy. We saw that truth played out during the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who killed Karnamaya Mongar and Semika Shaw during sloppy abortions at a squalid ‘House of Horrors.'”

Texas has similar health and safety issues. During a 2011 investigation into Texas abortion abuses, Operation Rescue documented poor facility conditions, the illegal disposal of recognizable aborted baby remains, and violations to the Texas 24-hour waiting period and informed consent laws at Whole Women’s Health, the abortion chain challenged the law.

Based on Operation Rescue’s regulatory complaints, Whole Women’s Health was heavily fined for the illegal dumping of aborted baby remains, and two of its abortionists were disciplined for violations uncovered during Operation Rescue’s investigation, as cited by an amici curiae brief, filed by the Liberty Counsel on behalf of Operation Rescue.

Two years later, Operation Rescue reported first-hand on the horrors exposed at the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell followed by a report on allegations made by clinic workers of babies who were similarly murdered at a Houston abortion facility that prompted the special legislative sessions that led to the passage of HB2.

Data recently gathered by Operation Rescue during a meticulous survey of every abortion facility in the country, verified that the average wait time for an abortion in Texas was 23% shorter than the national average wait even though half of the state’s abortion clinics have shut down.

Those results prove that The Texas law has not forced women into long waits for abortions — contrary to baseless claims made by the Abortion Cartel.

“We will not stop our fight to save innocent babies and protect women from an abortion industry that makes a living exploiting women by cutting corners on their lives and health,” said Newman.

Read the decision.

Preliminary List of Witnesses, Exhibits, Submitted in Marathon Kansas Abortion Law Case

Radical Pro-Abortion Activists on the Plaintiff’s List!

hodes-nauser-unaccountable

By Cheryl Sullenger

Topeka, KS – At least there are minimal signs of life – perhaps not in Kansas abortion clinics, but in a Shawnee County court where a 2011 abortion clinic licensing and safety law has languished without much action for five years.

However, on March 7, 2016, attorneys for the father/daughter abortionist team of Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser filed a preliminary list of proposed witnesses and exhibits in their marathon legal challenge to block the 2011 Kansas abortion law. Attorneys representing the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and State Attorney General Derek Schmidt also filed similar lists.

An injunction has blocked enforcement of the law over the past five years and left abortion facilities without oversight or accountability to any kind of medical safety standards.

However, the filing of potential witness and evidence lists by both the abortionists and the State, which is tasked with defending the law, is reason for a glimmer of optimism in a case that has been largely forgotten.

“Most Kansans probably believe that there are abortion clinic licensing requirements in Kansas. Certainly a big deal was made when Gov. Sam Brownback signed the long-awaited legislation into law in 2011,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “After five years of inertia, it is important to remind people that abortion clinics in Kansas have no oversight and are not required to meet any minimum safety standards.”

Potential witnesses for the abortionists include:

Traci Nauser, M.D. is an abortionist who operates the Center for Women’s Health in Overland Park, Kansas, with her father Herbert Hodes. She is a plaintiff in the case. It is likely that her abortion business would not qualify for licensing under the 2011 law and would be forced to shut down if the law was enforced.

James Mirabile, M.D., an Overland Park Ob/Gyn who refers abortion patients to Hodes and Nauser. He will testify that there is “no medical reason” for abortion facilities to be licensed or meet safety standards.

Tracey Cowles, M.D., another Overland Park Ob/Gyn who refers abortion patients to Hodes and Nauser. She will testify that it is her opinion that there is “no medical reason” for abortion facilities to be subject to safety standards or oversight. Cowles was also a plaintiff with Hodes and Nauser in a Federal Court case that challenged the Kansas mandatory child abuse reporting law. Cowles advocated that abortionists and their employees should be “discretionary” reporters of child sexual abuse.

Elizabeth Raymond, M.D. of New York, New York, has published numerous studies on abortion topics, including the use of digoxin in late-term pregnancies, the use of the medication abortions on adolescents, and several studies on the use of various contraceptives world-wide to prevent pregnancy. Her so-called “studies” have been used as propaganda to promote the notion that abortion is safe.

Joshua Freeman, M.D. of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, is set to testify about the status of abortion in Kansas and the “climate in which women access and providers perform abortions in the state,” even though he does not participate in abortions.

Jane Doe(s) are women who are expected to testify about how the licensing of abortion clinics will negatively impact their ability to access abortions.

Most of those on the abortionists’ witness list are known to be radical supporters of unrestricted abortion and unaccountable abortion facilities, but such a lack of oversight has led to abortion atrocities such as those uncovered at Kermit Gosnell‘s “House of Horrors” abortion facility in Pennsylvania. In Kansas, hands-off policies allowed abortionist Krishna Rajanna to operate an appallingly filthy and dangerous abortion mill in Kansas City for years until local activists finally documented the conditions and reported him to the authorities.

On the other side of the lawsuit, the State of Kansas notified the court that it plans to use the plaintiffs, Hodes and Nauser, as witnesses along with “one or more present or former employees” of their Overland Park abortion business.

“A former abortion worker who was employed by Hodes and Nauser could have the potential of being a game-changer in this case,” said Newman. “Abortion workers see everything and know the truth about what really goes on inside abortion businesses. Their experiences are very different than the sanitized sob-stories media organizations such as the New York Times like to publish to make people think the sky will come crashing down if women have to drive more than a block to kill their babies.”

The State’s potential witness list also includes:

• Representatives from Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood, another abortion facility also located in Overland Park, which dodged 107 criminal charges brought against it by a former county prosecutor that were related to illegal late-term abortions and manufacturing evidence to cover their crimes. That case was dismissed after it was discovered that a still-unknown person or persons inside the State Attorney General’s office under former A.G. Steve Six, destroyed the evidence against Planned Parenthood.

• Representatives from South Wind Women’s Center, an abortion business in Wichita that is located in the same building that once was occupied by George Tiller’s infamous late-term abortion business.

• Representatives from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which held public hearings on the need for the abortion law and developed specific safety regulations to protect women from unsafe conditions and practices.

• Other medical experts who have not yet been disclosed.

Efforts to create clinic licensing and standards date back at least to 2003, when then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the first of three efforts to enact laws that would have for the first time placed Kansas abortion facilities under the regulatory authority of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

“It has taken the court five years to begin discovery in this case, that should have been resolved within a few months,” said Newman. “The truth is that the lack of will exhibited by the Attorney General’s office to defend this law has allowed abortion facilities to run amok without accountability and jeopardize the lives of women and girls. It has also allowed two new abortion businesses to open in Kansas after years of clinic closures. It’s a source of embarrassment to the state of Kansas.”

The case has been a source of frustration for Operation Rescue, which heavily supported efforts since 2003 to place Kansas abortion facilities under the oversight authority of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Since the abortion law was passed and signed by Gov. Brownback in 2011 — only to be blocked by a county court judge — one surgical abortion facility, South Wind Women’s Center, has opened in Wichita and a Planned Parenthood facility, also in Wichita, has added medication abortions. Neither facility would have met licensing and safety criteria had the law been enacted and enforced.

“The unconscionable judicial delay in this case has resulted in abortions that would never have taken place. When you look at the delay from the standpoint of innocent lives of little boys and girls lost to abortion at the two Wichita facilities, it has been a bloody five years in Kansas,” said Newman.

  • View potential witness, evidence lists for Hodes and Nauser
  • View potential witness, evidence lists for the State of Kansas
  • Read: “Who are the Kansas Abortionists Suing to Block Abortion Laws?”
  • Read: “Dangerous Delay: Kansas 2011 Abortion Clinic Licensing Law Languishes in Legal Limbo”