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Supreme Court's Abortion Ruling Doesn't Affect Similar Restrictions In Ohio

A Planned Parenthood supporter and opponent try to block each other's signs during a protest and counter-protest of abortion in St. Louis on Feb. 11, 2017.
Jim Salter
Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is an undue burden and unconstitutional. But abortion rights activists say the ruling doesn’t affect a similar law in Ohio.

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled the Louisiana law provided "no significant health-related benefits" to patients and would "place substantial obstacles in the path of women seeking an abortion."

Ohio’s 2013 law requires abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with nearby hospitals, unlike Louisiana’s law, which put the requirements on individual doctors.

“This court decision is good for us. It didn’t make things worse, but it doesn’t change our path," says Lauren Blauvelt-Copelin with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio.

Abortion rights advocates have challenged Ohio's law in federal court. It's proved especially difficult for the Women's Med Center in Kettering, which had its health license revoked by the Ohio Department of Health last year for failing to obtain a written transfer agreement. Dayton-area hospital systems said their religious affiliations prevent them from signing such an agreement.

The clinic was able to stay open after obtaining an alternative agreement from a group of doctors. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio says the agreement met state requirements because hospitals are legally required to treat patients, and the doctors agreed to provide that treatment.

“It doesn't mean anything for patient care. It's only a piece of paper," said NARAL's Kelley Freeman in 2019. "It's bureaucracy that we don't think is medically necessary.”

Ohio Right to Life criticized the Supreme Court's ruling in a statement, saying it is imperative for anti-abortion voters to cast their ballots in November to elect conservative leaders, including the re-election of President Donald Trump.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.