Ohio Clinic Can Stay Open While It Challenges Transfer Agreement Requirements

Friday's ruling means that, for now, women in the Cincinnati area will not be forced to potentially travel out of state for abortion care.

The Women's Med Center in Sharonsville, Ohio. WLWT / YouTube

On Friday, an Ohio judge ruled that a reproductive health-care clinic in suburban Cincinnati can stay open while it fights a state order directing the clinic to close.

The order came after attorneys for the clinic challenged the Ohio Department of Health’s decision to order the Women’s Med Center (also called the Lebanon Road Surgery Center) in Sharonville to close because it lacked either a transfer agreement with a local hospital or a “variance” exempting the clinic from the transfer agreement requirement.

The transfer agreement requirement is the latest in a series of targeted regulations of abortion providers (TRAP) passed by anti-choice lawmakers in the state that are designed to drive abortion providers out of business.

In Friday’s ruling, Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jerome Metz Jr. ruled that the clinic would be allowed to stay open while its legal challenge to the closure order proceeds because keeping the clinic open does not pose any immediate threat to public safety. However, closing the clinic could create a headship on the thousands of patients who depend on the clinic every year, the court ruled. The clinic is one of two that provides abortions to patients in the Cincinnati area. If it closes, those patients would be forced to travel to clinics in Cleveland, Chicago, or Atlanta, according to court records.

The appeal process is expected to take up to a year.