On Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court lambasted two abortion clinics in Ohio with rulings that prompted praise from pro-life advocates. The court ruled in favor of the Ohio Department of Health’s 2014 decision to shut down an abortion clinic, Capital Care of Toledo, because of health violations and risks to patients there. Justices also ruled that Preterm of Cleveland can’t sue over abortion-related restrictions which were in the state’s budget bill back in 2013.
Both rulings are examples of how state regulations enforced in some unique way have aided in reducing abortions and have lately become a more successful strategy of the pro-life movement.
In their case, Preterm argued budget provisions in the bill added administrative burdens on the clinic. The court said Preterm didn't demonstrate true or threatened harm from the regulatory changes. In a separate ruling, but in many ways similar, the court upheld the Ohio Department of Health’s license revocation of Capital Care of Toledo which was the last remaining abortion clinic in Toledo, because it lacked a transfer agreement with a local hospital. Last fall, just before the Ohio Supreme Court heard this case, the Ohio Department of Health issued a $40,000 fine against Capital Care, because health investigators discovered Capital Care had been violating health and safety standards.
State health inspectors discovered that after one woman had an abortion, the doctor believed that he might have perforated the woman’s bowel. Capital Care Network did not follow their own medical emergencies procedure, in which they should have called 911. Instead, they sent the patient out the back door and into an employee’s personal car. They dropped her off at the hospital, and then came right back, not ensuring that the woman was treated promptly.
In light of the failure of bills like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in Congress, it’s encouraging to see that state regulations and even just simple hospital-like standards for abortion clinics continue to keep clinics at the local level in check.
By default, both of these rulings keep women safer and abortions lower.
Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist in Washington, D.C., who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator's Young Journalist Award.
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