On Monday, abortion champion Gloria Steinem launched a public campaign to keep open an abortion clinic in her hometown of Toledo — a clinic that had been closed for breaking the law.
Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court allowed the revocation of the operating license of Capital Care Network of Toledo, ruling that the clinic had violated the law requiring all ambulatory surgical facilities to have written hospital transfer agreements with local hospitals to enable emergency treatment. The court ruled that the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) could revoke the clinic’s operating license.
In 2013, the Ohio General Assembly enacted R.C. 3702.303(A), which codified the ODH transfer rule from 1986. The 2013 action stated that a written transfer agreement be “with a local hospital that specifies an effective procedure for the safe and immediate transfer of patients from the facility to the hospital when medical care beyond the care that can be provided …” Capital Care had a transfer agreement with the University of Toledo Medical Center until 2013, when the Medical Center declined to renew the agreement.
The loss of that agreement prompted Capital Care to establish an agreement with the University of Michigan Health System in 2014, but ODH ruled that the Medical Center’s location in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was too far away for emergency treatment.
A department hearing examiner ruled that Capital Care violated R.C. 3702.303(A) because its transfer agreement was not with a local hospital. ODH then revoked the license of the clinic.
But on Monday, Steinem released a statement through the office of state Rep. Teresa Fedor, a Toledo Democrat, reading;
We must not allow a political regulatory scheme to close Toledo's remaining abortion clinic. Its absence would not diminish the number of abortions but would increase the injury and death of women in my home city and state. Democracy begins with each person's control of his or her own body. Without reproductive freedom, there is no democracy for America women."
Steinem wanted ProMedica and St. Luke's Hospital to sign a transfer agreement with Capital Care, adding, "Ohio hospitals must not allow themselves to be used by politicians to hurt women's health.”