Ohio Supreme Court Rules Against Two Abortion Clinics

Feb 6, 2018

The Ohio Supreme Court has delivered a pair of blows to abortion clinics in Toledo and Cleveland.

Justices on Tuesday ruled Preterm of Cleveland lacks the legal standing to sue over abortion-related restrictions tucked into the state's 2013 budget bill.

The high court also upheld a license revocation aimed at shuttering Toledo's last abortion clinic.

Preterm of Cleveland had argued budget provisions imposed added administrative and caseload burdens on its operations that clearly qualified the clinic to proceed with litigation. But Justices said Preterm didn't demonstrate true or threatened harm from the regulatory changes.

Attorney Jessie Hill called the ruling disappointing, saying it’s a "sad day for government transparency and accountability" and that women across Ohio will suffer. Hill says the case involved a state constitutional question and can't be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a separate case, the court ruled 5-2 that the Ohio Department of Health acted within its rights in 2014 when it decided to shut down Capital Care of Toledo. Justices say the clinic violated a requirement because it no longer had a patient-transfer agreement with a local hospital.

Restrictions passed by Ohio lawmakers in 2013 mandated that those long-required transfer agreements be with local hospitals and also barred public hospitals from providing them. The University of Toledo Hospital ended its transfer arrangement with Capital Care about two months before the law was enacted.

Lower courts ruled the restrictions unconstitutional and allowed the clinic to continue operating while the lawsuit proceeded.

A message was left for that clinic's attorney.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement Tuesday that the court "got it right." He called the rulings affirmation that "abortion should not be advanced at the expense of women's health and safety."

The rulings come as Ohio has seen clinic closures across the state and a decline in abortion procedures.