Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court held that abortion facilities don’t get an exemption from health and safety regulations just because they provide abortions.
Like many states, Ohio has health and safety regulations for facilities that provide surgical services outside of a hospital. For over two decades, Ohio has required facilities to have a written transfer agreement with a local hospital to facilitate a patient’s treatment if an emergency or an urgent medical complication arises that the facility is incapable of handling. Generally, for effective emergency intervention, a patient needs to be transferred to a hospital within 30 minutes. Any longer, and the patient’s safety and quality of care is compromised.
Capital Care Network of Toledo is an abortion facility that provides surgical abortions outside of a hospital. When Capital Care’s written transfer agreement with a local hospital expired, it failed to get a new agreement for five months. And when Capital Care finally did get an agreement, it was with an out-of-state hospital approximately 60 minutes away.
Because Capital Care failed to follow the written transfer agreement requirement, the Ohio Department of Health revoked its license. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed: The Ohio Department of Health’s actions were supported by “reliable, probative, and substantial evidence and in accordance with law.” Capital Care must follow the same regulations as other facilities in the state that perform invasive surgical procedures. The fact that Capital Care provides abortions did not give it license to ignore health and safety regulations.
Enforcement of common-sense health and safety regulations—like Ohio’s written transfer agreement—are especially important for abortion providers, which have a published record of exposing women to unnecessary medical risks. Americans United for Life’s Unsafe report documents evidence and true stories about the harms, and even death, many women faced at the hands of the abortion industry.
Rachel N. Busick, J.D.