Ohio has revoked the operating license of one of the state's few remaining abortion clinics on grounds it failed to obtain a required transfer agreement with a nearby hospital for emergencies.
Women's Med Center of Dayton has 15 days to appeal Wednesday's order and says it will.
Department of Health Director Rick Hodges said the license is being revoked because the facility failed to name an adequate number of physicians to provide backup care. His order falls in line with recommendations of an independent hearing officer.
Ohio requires ambulatory surgical facilities to have emergency backup agreements with nearby hospitals or to obtain a variance from that requirement.
Public hospitals may not participate in transfer agreements and Dayton-area obstetricians have been intimidated by abortion opponents as the clinic sought additional backup doctors.
In two previous cases, Ohio courts have found that this state law created an undue burden on a woman's right to have access to an abortion.
Ohio Representative Greta Johnson released a statement condemning the decision by the Ohio Health Department. Johnson called the requirement for a transfer agreement arbitrary.
“Not only is the state of Ohio acting on likely-unconstitutional laws, but in doing so it is jeopardizing the heath and safety of Ohio women for political gain,” Johnson said.
Devin Scribner, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization in Columbus, praised the decision by the health department.
"Ohio Right to Life thanks Director Hodges for holding this abortion facility accountable to basic health and safety standards," said Scribner in a statement.