Abortion Free State? Kentucky Orders Last Abortion Business to Close, Prompting Lawsuit

See Update Below!

By Cheryl Sullenger

Louisville, KY – The State of Kentucky is engaged in an epic legal showdown with the state’s last remaining abortion facility, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, in an effort to shut it down – possibly as early as Monday, April 3, 2017 – for failing to meet licensing requirements.

Gov. Matthew G. Bevin and his administration issued a letter on March 13, 2017, to the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, informing them that they were in non-compliance with licensing regulations for failure to have adequate transfer agreements with an ambulance company and a hospital.

Bevin successfully shut down EMW’s Lexington abortion office last June for conducting abortions without a license to do so – an order that was later upheld by the State Supreme Court. He also closed an illegally operating Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Louisville that had begun conducting abortions without a license.

ACLU Involvement

EMW Women’s Surgical Center is being represented by the ACLU of Kentucky in a lawsuit filed on March 29, 2017, which is seeking to block the state from closing the abortion business’ doors. The suit claims that the state order to shutter EMW Women’s Surgical Center for failure to comply with licensing requirements violates EMW’s rights and would cause “drastic” consequences.

Using scare tactics, the ACLU argued that women will self-abort, delay their abortions, or be “forced to carry to term against their will” should the state succeed in closing the last abortion facility in the state.

Abortions Safe?

The ACLU further maintains that the need for hospital and ambulance transfer agreements are unnecessary because abortions are safe. It states, “Complications from abortion in general are rare, and those that require hospitalization and that occur while a patient is at the abortion facility are exceedingly so.”

Yet, Operation Rescue has compiled evidence that completely refutes that argument, having documented nearly two dozen such transports from abortion facilities in just the first three months of 2017, which is only a fraction of what actually occur. Some facilities transport patients by ambulance as often as every two weeks.

“If you read the EMW complaint, you would think the sky will fall and the world will end if their abortion business is closed,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Abortionists are not above the law and if they cannot meet facility licensing requirements, the state is correct in ordering them to shut down for the sake of public safety.”

Disqualified Hospital Transfer Agreement

One particular bone of contention is a 2014 hospital transfer agreement between EMW and the University of Louisville Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health. The State has notified EMW that the hospital representative that signed the agreement had no authority to do so.

EMW then noted that they had recently obtained the additional signature on the hospital agreement of University Medical Center’s President and CEO Ken Marshall, but “shortly after” signing the agreement, Marshall apparently had a change of heart. He contacted EMW and asked that they not submit the agreement to the Cabinet.

This leaves EMW without a valid hospital transfer agreement and clearly in violation of licensing requirements.

First Abortion Free State?

“Gov. Bevins and his administration has had great success in closing abortion facilities that would not comply with the law. We are highly optimistic that Kentucky will prevail in closing the EMW abortion facility in Louisville, as well,” said Newman. “That would make Kentucky the first abortion-free state.”

Closing the state’s last abortion facility would be a precedent-setting accomplishment. An attempt by the Mississippi to shut down its only abortion facility was blocked by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, citing the dubious legal theory that each state must have one open abortion facility, no matter how shoddy or dangerous it might be, in order for women of that state to exercise their “constitutional right” to abortion within the boundaries of the state.

“If Kentucky can close its last abortion facility, it will prove that it is possible to have an abortion-free state without bringing on the Apocalypse that abortionists predict. In fact, they may find that when an abortion business isn’t marketing abortions to women, they are actually better off. That can pave the way for other states to become abortion-free,” said Newman.

EMW Women’s Surgery Center and the ACLU are seeking a temporary restraining order to keep their abortion business open by barring the state from enforcing their licensing requirements.

Learn how to build an abortion-free community. Buy the book Abortion Free, by Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger. (Available in paperback or for Kindle.)

UPDATE, April 4, 2017: On Friday, U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers issued a temporary restraining order without a hearing, surprising both an attorney for the EMW abortion facility and a spokesperson the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The following is an excerpt from a story published 3/31/2017 by Courier-Journal.com:

The order came as a surprise to [EMW lawyer Donald L.] Cox and to the cabinet since the parties had not yet had a hearing to discuss the case with the judge. [Judge] Stivers said in his order that prior notice is not necessary in a case where facts “clearly show” that harm, irreparable injury or damage will occur before a hearing can be held.

Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which licenses and inspects abortion clinics, said officials were “surprised and disappointed the court entered a temporary restraining order without input from the cabinet and without first ascertaining the status of communications between both parties.”

The temporary injunction is good for two weeks.

Ohio Health Dept. Acts to Shutter Haskell’s Late-Term Abortion Mill Amid Legislative Pressure

By Cheryl Sullenger

Dayton, OH – The Ohio Department of Health has notified the Women’s Med Center that its two-year old application for a variance has been denied. Women’s Med Center had sought to renew its variance that exempted it from a law that requires abortion facilities to maintain written hospital transfer agreements.

The Women’s Med Center is an abortion facility operated in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Ohio, by the notorious late-term abortionist Martin Haskell. Abortions take place there throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Operation Rescue has documented numerous medical emergencies at the Women’s Med Center and exposed its reliance on variances since none of its abortionists hold hospital privileges and no hospital will enter into a written transfer agreement with the abortion business.

The Department of Health letter dated June 25, 2015, which was released Friday by Ohio Right to Life, gives Haskell 30 days to provide an acceptable written transfer agreement or face revocation of his facility license, which would force his infamous late-term abortion clinic to shut down.

The Department of Health objected to his submitted agreement that listed Wright State Physicians Women’s Health Care as the group that would provide emergency hospital care for Haskell’s botched abortion patients, since Haskell and his two hired abortionists cannot qualify for hospital privileges.

The letter also noted that the hospital that Haskell said would be providing emergency care submitted a letter to the Department of Health indicating that they objected to being named in Haskell’s variance and had made no agreements with the Women’s Med Center.


One of the physicians who was listed on one of Haskell’s earlier variances, Lawrence Amesse, has withdrawn from the variance agreement, leaving just two physicians, Sheela Barhan, and Jan Duke, to treat Haskell’s hospitalized patients. The Health Department noted that this arrangement is inadequate to insure emergency patients receive proper care.

The Ohio-based pro-life group Created Equal had conducted a public awareness campaign using thousands of postcards and the Truth Truck, which successfully exposed the connection between Wright State Physicians and Haskell’s abortion business in the weeks prior to the Health Department’s decision to deny the variance.

The Health Department’s variance denial took place as the Ohio Legislature attached two abortion-related provisions to the state budget. One would force the Department of Health to act within 60 days to approve pending license renewals or shut down the clinics that cannot comply with the law.

Ohio law requires surgical abortion facilities to have their ambulatory surgical center licenses renewed annually, but Operation Rescue has documented that 7 out of 8 surgical abortion facilities in Ohio have been allowed to continue operations even though their licenses have been expired and renewal “pending” for months. The Women’s Med Center has been operating on a license that expired on August 31, 2012.

The second provision attached to the Ohio budget would require abortion clinics to have written transfer agreements with hospitals within 30 miles of their facilities, clarifying the previous language that required transfer agreements to be “local.”

According to the Toledo Blade, the budget along with the new abortion provisions is set to take effect on Wednesday.

This provision would affect primarily the Toledo Women’s Center, which was unable to obtain a hospital transfer agreement anywhere in Ohio. Instead, it exploited ambiguities in the law by making an agreement with a hospital in Michigan fifty miles away. The Department of Health rejected this agreement as not being “local.”


Passage of the provision defining “local” as within 30 miles of the facility could eventually close the Toledo clinic.

“We are encouraged that the Ohio Department is taking steps to rein in these unsafe abortion facilities, but it is a shame that this wasn’t done months ago,” said Newman. “If a clinic cannot meet licensing requirements, it should close. Plain and simple.”

Haskell has tangled with the Ohio Department before and lost. The Operation Rescue contributed to local pro-life efforts to shut down his Sharonville facility in the suburbs of Cincinnati. After lengthy legal maneuverings, his facility license for the Sharonville clinic was revoked and Haskell was forced to halt surgical abortions there last August. He has continued to provide medication abortions in Sharonville, but has since put that office up for sale.

Abortion Licensing Fiasco: No Ohio Abortion Facility is in Legal Compliance

By Cheryl Sullenger

Columbus, OH — What would you think if you were told that no abortion facility in your home state held a current facility license as required by law, yet all of them continued to do abortions that were technically illegal – with full knowledge of state authorities?

That is not simply a hypothetical situation in Ohio. It is the scandalous reality.

Operation Rescue confirmed this week that out of eleven abortion facilities in that state, none hold current, active Ambulatory Surgical Facility licenses. While applications for licensure or license renewal have been made by all but one abortion facility, the Ohio Department of Health has not approved or denied their licensing applications. Some have been pending for over a year — one facility has been waiting since 2012 for licensing renewal — even though the law requires that ASF licenses be renewed annually.

Making this even more troubling is the fact that there has been no delay in the renewal of licenses for non-abortion facilities, leading to concerns that abortion facilities are being given too much leniency when they cannot comply with licensing laws.

Meanwhile, most of the abortion facilities continue to offer surgical abortions despite not meeting the requirements for legal operation in Ohio.

“Why are abortion facilities in Ohio allowed to operate with no valid facility license? If these abortion centers cannot meet the qualifications provided by law for licensing, then they should be immediately shut down,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “There’s really no excuse for allowing substandard abortion businesses to continue operating outside the law.”

Closing: Complete Healthcare for Women

In spite of this troubling licensing fiaso, there is one bright spot. Complete Healthcare for Women in Columbus, will no longer be offering surgical abortions after Friday, August 29. The bad news is that an Operation Rescue undercover investigator was offered a surgical abortion appointment at that facility on August 27 even though the ODH website indicates that the facility is already closed and its ASF license is no longer in effect.

That would make surgical abortions done there illegal.

Complete Healthcare for Women is telling callers it plans to stay open but will no longer be offering abortions either by surgery or by the abortion pill.

Complete Healthcare for Women has a documented history of OSHA violations and botched abortions.

However, other abortion facilities operating on expired license or none at all continue doing surgical abortions — some openly and some under the regulatory radar.

Below is a summary of the licensing situation at each Ohio abortion facility. Curiously, the ODH lists many of the facilities with expired licenses as having “active” license statuses, creating a logical paradox. It really is really possible to have an active license that is expired as well?

Akron Women’s Medical Group

Located on E. Market Street in Akron, the Akron Women’s Medical Group is affiliated with the Cleveland Surgi-Center that recently relocated to Shaker Heights. It openly provides both surgical and medication abortion via the abortion pill. However, its facility license expired on April 30, 2013.

This abortion facility has a history of willingness to not report suspected child sex abuse along with botched abortions.

Cleveland Surgi-Center (aka Cleveland Women’s Medical Group)

The Cleveland Surgi-Center was forced to move from its Pearl Road office in Cleveland in June after the property manager refused to renew its lease. Two months after moving out, it is now operating under three different names on Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights, an exclusive suburb of Cincinnati. The Cleveland Surgi-Center is also calling itself Cleve-Surgi Center, Inc. and Cleveland Women’s Medical Group – none of which are currently licensed as an ASF. In fact, there is no evidence that even an application for licensure has been made.

Even so, the Cleveland Surgi-Center’s website is actively advertising surgical abortions at their new facility on Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights and currently booking surgical appointments. However, according to Operation Rescue’s research, the abortion facility is giving out conflicting information to callers about whether abortions are actually being done at the new office. They appear to be sending at least some women to their affiliated abortion facility in Akron, which is currently operating under an expired AFS license.

Operation Rescue documented two recent medical emergencies by Cleveland Surgi-Center at its Pearl Road location, raising serious safety concerns about this facility’s operators.

Founder’s Women’s Health Center

Founder’s Women’s Health Center in Columbus is affiliated with the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, in Cuyahoga Falls. According to the ODH Ambulatory Surgical Facilities listing, Founder’s ASF license has been expired since March 31, 2014. It remains open for business and conducting surgical abortions in violation of the law while it awaits notification of its license renewal or denial from the Ohio Department of Health.

Founder’s abortionist, Harley Blank, has been sued for malpractice.

Northeast Ohio Women’s Center

The Northeast Ohio Women’s Center (NEOWC) recently bought out the old Capital Care Network abortion business in Cuyahoga Falls and began operations under the new owner, abortionist David Burkons. Its ASF license status is listed as “pending,” indicating that an application has been made but licensing has not yet been approved.

Denise Leipold, Director of Northeast Ohio Right to Life, told Operation Rescue that she was able to schedule a surgical abortion at the Cuyahoga Falls facility about two months ago despite the lack of licensure. She notified the ODH that NEOWC appeared to be illegally conducting surgical abortions.

Then on July 30, 2014, former interim ODH Director Lance Himes, sent a letter to Burkons notifying him of the ODH’s intent that deny his license application. Serious violations were discovered during an inspection at the facility, including a lack of required policies and procedures, no emergency care plan, inadequately trained staff, drug violations, and more.

However, a NEOWC receptionist told an Operation Rescue undercover investigator that the clinic still has plans to offer surgical abortions in the future, but failed to mention that their license application has been denied.

Burkons continues to dispense the abortion pill at NEOWC even though he has no ability to conduct surgical abortions when the pill fails in 7-20 percent of cases, depending on gestational age when the pills are prescribed. While this practice is not illegal, it essentially abandons women suffering from incomplete medication abortions, leaving them on their own to seek emergency care that Burkons cannot legally provide.

To make matters worse, Burkons is responsible for 41 percent of all complications from medication abortions in Ohio – the highest in the state – according to reporting forms filed with the Medical Board of Ohio. That fact does not bode well for Ohio women.

Toledo Women’s Center (AKA Capital Care Network)

In a letter dated August 2, 2013, the Toledo Women’s Center, also known as the Capital Care Network, was informed of the ODH’s intent to shut down the clinic due to a failure to obtain a hospital transfer agreement. The abortion facility’s ASF license expired on April 30, 2013, but it continued to operate, business as usual.

CCNToledo-FeaturedIn February, 2014, an administrative hearing was held and the hearing officer rejected the abortion business’ proposed transfer agreement with a Michigan hospital, fifty miles away. After a series of legal maneuvers, the ODH finally issued a closure order and gave the facility until August 12 to shut down.

The following day, the Toledo Women’s Center received a stay from a judge. Even though it has no required hospital transfer agreement or valid license, and has known for over a year it is in violation of the law, the abortion center remains open for business conducting surgical abortions with no arrangement for emergency care in the event of abortion complications.

Toledo Women’s Center is Affiliated with abortionist David Burkons and the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center.


The Preterm abortion facility in Cleveland was the site of a botched late-term abortion that resulted in the death of Lakisha Wilson in March. Pro-life groups called on the ODH to shut down the obviously dangerous abortion facility. As the groups addressed the media at an April 2 news conference, ODH representatives were inside Preterm conducting a facility inspection.

What was unknown at the time is that Preterm’s ASF license had expired on March 31, 2014, just two days before. Nevertheless, the ODH has taken no known measures to halt abortions there despite Preterm’s expired license and at least one patient death.

“If the law says that an abortion facility requires a license in order to operate, then if the license has expired, it should be closed down. If my driver’s license were to expire, I would not be allowed to legally drive until I got it renewed. If I was pulled over by police with an expired license, I would be ticketed. Yet nothing is happening to these abortion centers when their licenses expire. They just continue to operate in spite of the law,” said Newman. “If they can’t meet licensing requirements or their licenses expire, these facilities must be shut down in the interest of public safety and the rule of law. What good are laws if no one will enforce them?”

Preterm is also the site of a Buffett family-funded Ryan Residency Program, which trains new doctors to do abortions.

Women’s Med Center

The notorious late-term abortionist Martin Haskell operates the Women’s Med Center in Dayton, which is known for specializing extremely late-term abortions of the kind done by LeRoy Carhart in Maryland and Shelley Sella and Susan Robinson in Albuquerque, New Mexico, all former associates of the infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller.

Women’s Med Center in Dayton was operating under a “variance” which allowed it to forgo the required hospital transfer agreement as long as it maintained an approved agreement with two physicians to provide hospital care to abortion patients suffering serious complications.

In 2012, Haskell sought renewal of his ASF license, which expired on August 31, 2012. The ODH has not approved or denied his applications. In 2013, Haskell requested a renewal of his variance, which allowed him to operate his abortion facility with out a required hospital transfer agreement. The Women’s Med Center has continued supplying abortions over the past two years – including the more risky second and third trimester variety – despite having no active ASF license or approved hospital transfer agreement or variance as required by law.

“What happened to the requirement that an ASF license be renewed each year? While we appreciate the ODH revoking Haskell’s Sharonville ASF license, the Dayton facility seems to be getting away with the very behavior that cost his Sharonville abortion business its license,” said Newman. “The Dayton abortion center should be closed immediately as well.”

Haskell’s Sharonville Women’s Med Center location was denied a similar variance and license renewal by the ODH after years of legal wrangling. Haskell agreed to halt surgical abortions as of last Friday, August 22, but had none-the-less operated without an active variance or ASF license at that facility for about two years. That facility is temporarily closed.

Planned Parenthood – Campbell Medical Center

Planned Parenthood’s abortion facility in Cincinnati continues to offer surgical abortions today, boasting of being the Cincinnati area’s last surviving abortion facility.

However, Planned Parenthood’s ASF license expired on May 31, 2013, and has never been approved for renewal, placing its abortion operations outside the law.

Planned Parenthood – Bedford Heights Health Center

The Bedford Heights Planned Parenthood abortion center, located in an eastern suburb of Cleveland, is simply an abortion referral center, according to information on Planned Parenthood’s web site. However, Operation Rescue confirmed that this facility operates a heavy schedule of surgical abortions.

Why list the Bedford Heights facility as only offering abortion referrals?

Perhaps because its ASF license expired on December 31, 2013, and has not been approved for renewal, an inconvenience hasn’t stopped this abortion center from operating outside Ohio law.

This Planned Parenthood abortion facility was fined $25,000 on July 30, 2014, for violating state code and operating an unsanitary clinic. Why it was not shut down remains a mystery.

Planned Parenthood – East Health Center

This Columbus abortion facility operated by Planned Parenthood conducts surgical abortions but does so without the legally required ASF license. Theirs expired on December 31, 2013. The ODH has taken no action to approve or deny its renewal application in at least eight months, during which time the abortion business has been allowed to operate in violation of state laws.

Who is responsible?

Certainly the abortion facilities in Ohio are more than willing to continue selling and supplying abortions whether they have a license or not. These businesses are more than willing to push the legal envelope as far as possible in order to keep their money stream intact even if it is at the expense of the lives and health of their patients.

However, the Ohio Department of Health must shoulder a portion of the blame. It has been their policy of delaying action on Ambulatory Surgical Facility applications and renewals that has allowed abortion facilities to continue operating on long-expired or inactive licenses.

The ODH’s willingness turn a blind eye to facilities that are operating without proper licensure is a failure of the ODH’s enforcement duties.

While the ODH has worked tirelessly to shut down Martin Haskell’s Sharonville abortion mill and is now attempting to close the substandard Toledo center, it simply isn’t doing all it should to protect women and their babies from abortion facilities that can’t or won’t obey the law.

In addition, Ohio law contains a huge loophole that the State Legislature must address. Currently, non-licensed facilities that fall outside the ODH’s oversight authority are allowed to freely dispense abortion drugs without any capacity to treat incomplete abortions, a common complication that requires surgical completion. This omission in the law leaves women exposed to inadequate or delayed treatment for a potentially life-threatening complication that occurs at a minimum in seven percent of all medication abortions.

We urge the Ohio Legislature to seal up that legal loophole before someone dies from this lapse in continuity of care.

We also urge the Ohio Department of Health to act immediately to clear up the licensing fiasco that is allowing abortion facilities to thumb their proverbial noses at the law.

“If an abortion facility’s AFS license is expired or inactive, shut it down until it can meet the legal requirements for licensure. It’s really as simple as that,” said Newman.


Please contact the Ohio Department of Health and demand that abortion facilities with expired or inactive licensed be immediately shut down.

Ohio Department of Health
Richard Hodges, Director
Phone: (614) 466-3543
E-mail: Director@odh.ohio.gov

Kansas Judge Admits Abortion Clinics Need Oversight but Denies Motion to Dismiss Clinic Licensing Challenge

Abortion radicals deny women even the most rudimentary safety net

Topeka, Kansas – Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis denied a motion on Friday asking him to dismiss a state challenge to an abortion clinic licensing law that has been brought by two Kansas abortionists.

Despite his ruling, Judge Theis agreed with the State that abortion clinics should have some oversight.

“Abortion was originally a back alley business and obviously we don’t want the back alley brought into four walls. There’s enough concern that somebody ought to keep an eye on it,” said Judge Theis.

At issue is a law passed in 2011 that authorized the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to license clinics where abortions are done and develop a set of health and safety standards such clinics must meet. Operation Rescue testified for the need for permanent new standards at a special hearing last September, presenting KDHE with over 2,500 pages of documentation of known abortion abuses.

Representatives of Operation Rescue were in the court room on Friday to observe the proceedings.

Of the three abortion clinics in Kansas, only one qualified for licensing before the suit blocked enforcement of the law. A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Overland Park applied for and received licensing based on temporary regulations on July 1, 2011, when the new law was to go into effect.

A second abortion clinic in Kansas City failed to receive licensing based on its application and was never inspected. Operation Rescue later revealed documentation of numerous abortion abuses occurring at that clinic, including the refusal to report child sex abuse and the illegal dumping of private patient information and bloody refuse from abortions. That clinic is currently under investigation by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts based on information provided by Operation Rescue.

Herbert Hodes and his daughter Tracy Nauser, a father-daughter team of abortionists from Overland Park that operate the state’s third abortion clinic, refused the mandatory inspection and instead filed suit in Federal Court. That suit was dropped by Hodes and Nauser, who then refiled their challenge in state court, resetting the suit and delaying it for nearly a year.

“It’s not that plaintiffs can’t comply; they don’t want to and don’t think they have to. This is about them thinking that abortion cannot be regulated,” said Assistant Attorney General Steve McAllister, who argued the case for the state.

Hodes and Nauser were represented by a phlanx of out-of-state attorneys from the Center for Reproductive Rights. Those attorneys have asked for broad discovery that is aimed at questioning the Legislative process, and nearly everyone remotely involved in it. In other words, they plan to challenge whether the state had the authority to pass a law that provided abortion clinic oversight and regulation.

McAllister told the court that the abortionists’ requests for questioning of the Governor, Attorney General, and even the Secretary of State was overbroad and that it was wrong to allow an open door to “fishing around and questioning legislative validity.”

The case is expected to eventually be appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, which is stacked with radical abortion supporters appointed by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Both parties estimate that the case could take four years or more to litigate.

“While this case drags on in court, at least two abortion clinics in Kansas that have never been inspected continue to endanger the health and safety of women,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.

“Meanwhile abortion extremists conduct a witch hunt amongst state officers looking for their next whipping boy. It is women who are subjected to substandard, back-alley-style abortions under horrific conditions that will suffer while the abortion radicals deny women even the most rudimentary safety net. This illustrates the stark reality that abortionists care about abortion remaining unregulated more than they care about women. These people are literally fighting to keep abortion dangerous.”

View Hodes profile page at AbortionDocs.org