The last abortion clinic in Ohio’s largest city could shut down within the month thanks to stringent new anti-abortion provisions that Gov. John Kasich (R) signed into law in July as part of a must-pass two-year state budget.
Capital Care Network of Toledo was still treating patients as of Thursday, according to the Toledo Blade. But that could change very soon if the clinic is unable to get a “transfer agreement” that allows them to send women to a hospital in case of a medical emergency. Ohio’s Department of Health requires abortion clinics to have such an agreement in place in order to stay open.
Capital Care’s existing transfer agreement with the University of Toledo Medical Center expired at the end of July. But the clinic cannot renew its contract with the University of Toledo because the anti-abortion provisions in Kasich’s budget preclude hospitals that receive public funding from entering into such agreements with abortion providers. The same provision has already forced other abortion clinics in Ohio to close their doors.
On August 2nd, Ohio Department of Health director Theodore Wymyslo notified Capital Care that it had 30 days to seek an administrative hearing on the matter. Barring a response, Wymyslo said the Department of Health would go ahead and revoke the clinic’s practicing license.
Medical professionals and women’s health advocates point out that very few abortions — less than 0.002 percent — result in complications that would require transferring patients to a hospital.
Kasich’s budget includes several other restrictions which ensure that Ohio now has some of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the country. That includes de-funding Planned Parenthood clinics, reallocating family planning funding to “crisis pregnancy centers” that often provide women with false information, stripping funding from rape crisis centers that talk to patients about abortions, and requiring doctors to give women seeking abortion information about the presence of a “fetal heartbeat.”
The original title of this post suggested that Toledo is Ohio’s largest city. It is actually the fourth largest city, but will be the largest city without any abortion providers if Capital Care Network shuts down.