Federal judge has ties to Cincinnati abortion clinic

The federal judge who could decide the fate of Cincinnati’s last remaining abortion clinic has ties to the Planned Parenthood facility.

Cincinnati's only abortion clinic — operated by Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio — filed Monday a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state. The lawsuit asks the courts to strike down a new Ohio law that bans the facility, as well as all other abortion surgery centers, from partnering with public hospitals.

Federal Judge Timothy S. Black, a President Barack Obama appointee, was randomly selected to preside over the case. Black’s resume submitted for judicial positions shows he sat on the Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati’s board from 1986 to 1989.

The resume lists a series of boards Black sat on, including positions with a neighborhood investment program and a sailing association, for example.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio spokesman Rick Pender confirmed to this news organization that the judge served on the organization’s board. He said the position requires a group of roughly 15 to 20 people to meet once a month to go over operations for the agency, which has seven health centers that serve area women. Black held the unpaid, voluntary position more than 20 years ago, according to Pender.

Ohio Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati released a statement calling Black’s affiliation with the organization a “conflict of interest.”

Federal law prohibits Black from commenting on the case, his office said this morning.

A conference call between the judge and attorneys involved in the case is scheduled for this afternoon.

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