An Ohio court of appeals recently ruled in support of a decision to revoke the license of Martin Haskell’s Dayton-area Women’s Med Center abortion clinic, meaning either the clinic will close or the case will head to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Haskell owns and operates three abortion facilities across the country, one in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, another in Cincinnati, and a third in Indianapolis. According to the pro-life organization Operation Rescue, the Women’s Med Center is one of six abortion providers that openly performs abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
In 2016, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) revoked the Kettering clinic’s ambulatory surgical facility license. In order to maintain such a license, abortion clinics are required by state law to have written transfer agreements with a hospital within a 30-minute radius in the event that a patient needs emergency medical care. Abortion clinics can also apply for a “variance” of the written transfer agreement that includes the names of physicians with admitting privileges who have agreed to treat women with abortion complications.
Haskell’s Women’s Med Center clinic in Dayton has been unable to ever obtain a written transfer agreement with a local hospital, and its variance was ruled unsatisfactory.
His clinic filed suit against the ODH action in 2016 in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Judge Mary Wiseman allowed the Women’s Med Center to remain open during litigation, but in August 2018 ruled that she “lacked the jurisdiction” to overturn ODH’s decision.
So in September 2018, Haskell appealed Wiseman’s decision with the Second District Court of Appeals, which reached a decision March 29.
In their decision, a three-judge panel concluded that “ODH had the authority to revoke” the clinic’s license based on its “failure to comply with the administrative rule requiring a written transfer agreement with a nearby hospital.” They further found that ODH’s decision was “supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence and was in accordance with law.”
Jennifer Branch and David Greer, co-counsel for the clinic, told Dayton Daily News that the transfer agreement requirement for abortion clinics is “medically unnecessary and politically motivated.”
“The only hospital here in Dayton who has the ability that’s not religious is Miami Valley,” Branch said. “This whole case would be dismissed in five minutes if Miami Valley would sign a written transfer agreement.”
As recently as March 7, the clinic had to place a 911 call for a woman who was hemorrhaging after a surgical abortion, according to audio and video obtained by a pro-life organization.
Branch said the clinic plans to appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, while pro-life organizations across the state are applauding the ruling.
“At least twice now in the past two years, our courts have said that the Ohio Department of Health has the authority to ‘revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew the license’ of this facility,” Dayton Right to Life Executive Director Margie Christie said in a statement. “We hope that the Ohio Department of Health will act swiftly in closing the doors of this unlicensed facility. How long must our children and women wait for justice? Women deserve better than abortion and our children deserve protection.”
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, expressed frustration with the courts for allowing the appeals process to drag on while the clinic remains open.
“The appeals process in Ohio takes far too long. It is ridiculous for an abortion facility that cannot comply with licensing standards to stay open for four, five, or six years until the appeals can be exhausted and the clinic finally closed,” he said. “We are one step away from ending the child-killing career of one of the most notorious full-term abortionists in America. It’s just unfortunate that it will likely take another year of appeals before we can finally see Haskell’s late-term clinic closed.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background Photo “Ohio State Supreme Court” by Sixflashphoto. CC BY-SA 4.0.