Abortion foes challenge Kettering clinic

Abortion foes are pressing the State Medical Board to discipline the physician who performed an abortion at a Kettering clinic on a woman opponents argue was too high to fully consent to the procedure, Ohio Right to Life said Wednesday.

In June 2015, a 31-year-old woman received an initial evaluation but when she returned the following morning for the abortion, she was unable to walk or hold up her head on her own or make coherent conversation, according to a report by the Ohio Department of Health.

The patient’s friend told the clinic staff that the woman had taken pain pills, Suboxone and perhaps some heroin, according to the state health officials. Clinic medical staff performed the abortion, administered Narcan — a drug used to counteract opoid overdose, and sent her to a hospital for the suspected overdose, according to the report.

State health department officials reported that there was no documentation in the record that the patient was asked whether she would like to withdraw her consent for the abortion due to her altered state.

“This facility clearly violated the very choice the abortion industry claims to stand for,” said Paul Coudron, executive director of Dayton Right to Life, in a written statement. “Informed consent is a crucial ethical principle in the practice of medicine, no matter the procedure. Women’s Med Center, Martin Haskell and the abortionist who performed this abortion need to be held accountable for violating such a basic and fundamental medical ethic as informed consent.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich appointed Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis to the State Medical Board.

Gonidakis said he is not involved in the complaint and would consider recusing himself from proceedings if advised by Medical Board attorneys or he sees a reason to do so.

NARAL ProChoice Ohio said it has not yet seen the complaint and could not comment on the matter.

Women’s Med Center has twice been turned down for a waiver to a requirement that abortion clinics have transfer agreements with local hospitals in case of emergencies. The center has been arguing before state health officials that it has adequate plans to deal with emergencies.

The transfer agreement requirement, added to state law in 2013, has led to the closure of abortion clinics in Ohio.

State Medical Board spokeswoman Tessie Pollock could not confirm whether a complaint has been filed, citing confidentiality rules. But she noted that informed consent is essential to a physician’s standard of care.

She added that the board has taken action against licensees for failure to get informed consent, including the 1988 case against Dr. James C. Burt of Dayton. Burt, known as the “Love Doctor,” surrendered his license in 1989 based on allegations that he performed experimental surgery on women’s genitals, sometimes without their consent.

The action against Burt came 14 years after publication of his book, Surgery of Love, in which he detailed performing post-delivery surgery over the preceeding 22 years. Details of that case can be found here: http://med.ohio.gov/portals/0/formala/35017329.pdf