The Ohio Department of Health has allowed a Toledo abortion clinic to reopen under a new license after its prior license had been revoked for putting women’s lives at risk.
A Christian legal-aid organization known as the Thomas More Society is protesting the decision, and has filed a complaint with the Department of Health on behalf of Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio and Greater Toledo Area Right to Life, claiming the state failed in its due diligence to scrutinize the practitioner’s laundry list of violations.
Days after revoking the license of Capital Care Network (CCN)-Toledo and its operator for not meeting the Ohio requirements for an ambulatory surgical facility, the Ohio Health Department issued a brand-new license, relying on “incomplete, false and misleading statements” in the application, according to the Thomas More Society.
The original license was revoked in accordance with a 2018 Ohio Supreme Court order after it came to light that the clinic, operating since 2005, did not have a transfer agreement with a local hospital as mandated by Ohio law.
Abortion clinics are required to have written transfer agreements with a hospital no more than 30 minutes away by ambulance in case a patient needs emergency or additional medical care.
“For years, this abortion vendor has put women at risk, threatening their health and safety, because of an unwillingness to comply with Ohio’s law,” said Thomas Olp, vice president and senior counsel at Thomas More Society, in a statement.
He said the clinic and its owner have provided a false and misleading application to the Ohio Department of Health, “which has turned a blind eye to the infractions that caused revocation of the original license. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.”
Jeff Barefoot, president of the Greater Toledo Area Right to Life and a member of the executive council of the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, said his groups were motivated by feedback from people all over Ohio.
“The feedback I am getting from pro-life people all over the State of Ohio is that they are appalled by the Ohio Department of Health’s back-to-back renewal of a clinic’s license to operate immediately after revoking the license for a regulatory violation,” Barefoot said. “We have every hope that by raising this issue with the Department of Health, we will prompt correction of this unjustified action.”
CCN-Toledo is one of six abortion clinics left in Ohio, according to Abortion.com.
The complaint, filed Oct. 25, details a history of citations against CCN, including:
- March 2012 – CCN-Toledo was cited by Ohio Department of Health for operating without a written transfer agreement with a local hospital.
- April 2013 – Ohio Department of Health revoked the license of the owner’s partner facility, CCN of Cuyahoga Falls, while it declined to contest the cited violations.
- August 2013 – Ohio Department of Health notified CCN-Toledo that it intended to revoke its license because of its lack of a written transfer agreement.
- January 2014 – CCN-Toledo entered into a written transfer agreement with a hospital over 50 miles away, which Ohio Department of Health said was too far and refused to renew the license.
- May 2014 – CCN-Toledo abortion doctor Thomas Michaelis of Sylvania, then 69, was arrested on federal charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
- July 2014 – Ohio Department of Health issued an adjudication order refusing to renew, and revoked CCN-Toledo’s license to operate. An appeal allows the business to continue to operate during legal proceedings.
- November 2014 – The city of Toledo pursued CCN’s management company for more than $33,000 in unpaid municipal taxes.
- April 2016 – A federal tax lien was recorded against CCN-Toledo’s management company for more than $600,000 in unpaid federal taxes.
- August 2017 – Ohio Department of Health inspected CCN-Toledo and found “serious licensure violations,” proposing a $40,000 fine.
- September 2017 – The city pursued CCN’s management company for another $24,000 in unpaid municipal taxes.
- January 2018 – The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the Ohio Department of Health’s authority to terminate CCN-Toledo’s license.
After the decision to terminate CCN-Toledo’s license was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court, the owner applied for a new license without disclosing the existence of a previous one.
“The fact the Ohio Department of Health reissued a license to operate to a person and business already on its blacklist shows a woeful lack of oversight and irresponsible negligence toward the health and safety of Ohio women,” said Olp. “The irregularities here are manifold and the state must step up and protect its residents from those who are abusing the public trust.”
– – –
Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.