Last Toledo Abortion Clinic Ordered CLOSED
By now, many of you have read the great news that Capital Care Network of Toledo has moved one step closer to closure! Moments ago, we sent out a press release detailing yesterday’s ruling that the last abortion clinic in Toledo be closed. Please find the story from the Dispatch and the story from the Bladecopied below.
Many of you, like us, have been following the closure of this clinic for many months. Many have been praying for its closure for years. And now it’s on the cusp of being closed once and for all.
Please know that Ohio Right to Life is at the front of advocating for the closure of this clinic. As Mike says in both stories from the Columbus Dispatch and the Toledo Blade, the decision to close down CCN puts women’s health and safety ahead of politics.
We are eager to see CCN held accountable for operating illegally for the last year. Most importantly, we are eager to see lives saved in Northwest Ohio!
While we anticipate that CCN will make an appeal to remain open, we will continue to point out the absurdity of letting this clinic operate outside of Ohio law and ensure that it is closed once and for all.
With you for Life,
Public Relations Manager
Ohio Right to Life
88 East Broad Street, Suite 620
Columbus, Ohio 43215
614/547-0099, ext. 304
Toledo’s last abortion clinic moves step closer to closure
Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic moved a step closer to being shut down by the state yesterday.
An Ohio Department of Health hearing examiner ruled that the Capital Care Network’s facility cannot use the University of Michigan hospital 52 miles away for its legally required transfer agreement with a “local” hospital. The decision unveiled yesterday to revoke the clinic’s license upheld two decisions by former Health Director Ted Wymyslo and now will be considered by Lance D. Himes, the department’s acting director.
Read the Ohio Department of Health decision (PDF)
“We applaud the hearing examiner’s decision, which puts women’s health and patient safety ahead of politics,” said Michael Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “No state regulator or reasonable person would permit an out-of-state hospital to contract with an Ohio abortion clinic to provide backup services. It’s absurd that this abortion clinic would even make such a request. Sadly, it appears that the clinic will put profits ahead of patient safety and attempt to delay and stall through litigation.”
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, called the health department’s action part of a “regulatory witch hunt.”
“This ruling is no surprise, given that (Gov. John) Kasich wrote these regulations to close abortion clinics,” she said. “Transfer agreements have nothing to do with patient safety. The real threat to women’s health will come if Kasich succeeds in closing the last abortion clinic in Toledo, because women will still need access to abortion in Toledo and could resort to drastic measures.”
Besides failing the legal requirement for a “local” hospital, the clinic’s pact with the medical center in Ann Arbor, Mich., is illegal under Ohio law “because it does not specify an appropriate procedure for the safe and immediate transfer of patients from the facility to a local hospital when medical care, beyond the care that can be provided at the ambulatory-care facility, is necessary, including when emergency situations occur or medical complications arise,” hearing examiner William J. Kepko said.
Clinic officials said the Jan. 20 agreement with the University of Michigan hospital would require them to use medical helicopters based about an hour away in Licking County.
Transfer agreements are required of all ambulatory surgical facilities, not just abortion clinics. The Capital Care facility had an agreement with the University of Toledo hospital, but public hospitals were barred from entering into such pacts under a law signed last year by Kasich. After the Toledo hospital ended its contract last summer, the abortion clinic operated for nearly six months without any transfer agreement.
Toledo’s other abortion clinic, the Center for Choice, closed its doors last year because it could not come up with a valid transfer agreement after operating without one for more than three years.
Abortion provider’s Mich. deal not local
BY JIM PROVANCE BLADE
COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
COLUMBUS — A state hearing examiner has recommended that Toledo’s last
abortion provider, Capital Care Network, be closed because it lacks a valid
emergency-care agreement with a local hospital as required by Ohio law.
William J. Kepko, the hearing examiner for the Ohio Department of Health, wrote in a
decision released by the Department of Health on Monday that the state’s decision to
revoke the clinic’s license as an ambulatory surgical center was valid.
The final decision now lies with the interim director, Lance Himes, who served as legal counsel to the former director, Dr. Ted
Wymyslo, when he issued his original license revocation order on Aug. 2, 2013.
“Capital Care’s written transfer agreement with the University of Michigan on behalf of the University of Michigan Health System,
located in the state of Michigan, 52 miles from Capital Care, is not a local hospital as required by [state law],” Mr. Kepko wrote.
“The use of the 30-minute availability rule by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health when evaluating Capital Care’s
transfer agreement with UMHS is reasonable and consistent with [state law], requiring the transfer agreement to be with a local
The clinic’s Cincinnati attorney, Jennifer Branch, could not be reached for comment. But she has already indicated an appeal would
be filed should Mr. Himes agree with the recommendation and again issue an order revoking Capital Care’s operating license.
She used the March hearing before Mr. Kepko to lay the groundwork for a constitutional challenge.
The two-year state budget passed last year cemented in law what had previously been an administrative rule within the health
department requiring ambulatory surgical centers to have agreements with hospitals to transfer patients if complications arise.
Lawmakers then went a step further by requiring that agreement to be with a “local” hospital without defining what that meant.
The University of Toledo Medical Center chose not to renew its agreement with Capital Care as of July 31, 2013. The budget later
prohibited public hospitals like UTMC, the former Medical College of Ohio, from entering into such agreements.
The clinic struggled for months to find someone willing to take its place before inking a deal with UMHS. The agreement with the
Ann Harbor hospital, however, stated it would not be responsible for transportation of patients.
The clinic’s owner, Terrie Hubbard, testified that in a true emergency she would call 911 to have the patient transferred to a Toledo
hospital, which would have to treat the patient under federal law regardless of whether a transfer agreement was in place.
In the event of a complication not considered life-threatening, Ms. Hubbard said she would hire a helicopter to fly the patient to
Mr. Kepko found that to be unreliable and determined, in his decision time-stamped on Thursday, that the clinic has been without a
valid transfer agreement for nearly a year.
“This ruling is no surprise given that [Gov. John] Kasich wrote these regulations to close abortion clinics,” said Kellie Copeland,
NARAL Ohio executive director. “The transfer agreements don’t have anything to do with patient safety. They have everything to
do with closing abortion clinics.
“The real tragedy is if they are successful in closing the last abortion clinic in Toledo,” she said. “Women still need access to
abortion, and women may resort to drastic measures.”
Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis, who worked to have the transfer agreement language added to the state budget,
applauded what he characterized as a “common-sense” decision.
“We believe this decision puts women’s health and safety ahead of politics, concluding that a hospital in another state does not
meet the requirements that our state requires,” he said. “It would have been a first-of-a-kind decision if he’d ruled otherwise.”
He noted, however, that the clinic is likely to remain open for some time as the appeal works its way through the federal courts.
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-221-0496.