Attorney General: Court should reject Kettering abortion clinic appeal

The Ohio Attorney General's office has filed its memorandum in response to the Kettering Women's Med Center appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court about the clinic's license revocation.

In the memorandum, the attorney general’s office puts forth the argument that that Ohio Supreme Court should not review the case, “because it was rightly resolved,” in previous decisions.

MORE: Kettering abortion provider appeals to Ohio Supreme Court to stay open

The memorandum outlines that one of the arguments that Women’s Med Center has long maintained is that the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has not given them appropriate hearing rights and/or appeals.

Women’s Med is seeking to overturn an ODH order that effectively forces it to close because it cannot obtain a written transfer agreement from local hospitals.

A transfer agreement means that an area hospital would accept patients from the clinic in emergencies.

The state has argued successfully in the previous cases that an agency decision is “final” and therefore unappealable. The Ohio Supreme Court will now make its decision on whether it will take action on the case.

Without the transfer agreement, ODH has refused to renew the center’s ambulatory surgical facility license. The Second District Court of Appeals sided with ODH.

MORE: Dayton abortion protest follows heated state, national debate

Dayton Right to Life Executive Director Margie Christie on Wednesday reviewed the memorandum and said, “We thank the attorney general’s office for its work, diligence, and preparation on this case for over 3 years. The Ohio Department of Health and the lower courts have rendered their decisions on this case. This facility’s license revocation should be upheld and its doors shut for good.”

Women’s Med attorney Jennifer Branch told this news organization on Wednesday that the facility has asked the Supreme Court of Ohio to allow its appeal to go forward because not one single court has yet reviewed the Department of Health’s decision to revoke the clinic’s license.

“Dayton women deserve to have a court decide whether ODH acted properly before the last abortion clinic in the area is shut down,” Branch said.

In the Dayton region, neither of the companies that own most area hospitals, Premier and Kettering Health, have agreed to a transfer arrangement with Women’s Med.

“We acknowledge that this is a difficult subject with strong emotions on both sides. Our focus will always remain on providing the best care possible for all patients in our community,” Premier Health said in a statement. “The requirement that abortion clinics have transfer agreements with hospitals is a requirement of the State of Ohio and was decided at the state level. In the case of Premier Health, and as reported previously in the media, our ownership includes a Catholic organization. Under our governing documents, we have long been – and continue to be – prohibited from entering into certain arrangements, which include transfer agreements with this type of provider. However, our hospitals accept any patient from any source who presents with an emergency medical condition.”