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Southwest Ohio abortion clinics fear a new Ohio law could force them to close their doors

A sign is displayed at Planned Parenthood of Utah Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer
Associated Press

A lawsuit filed in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas late on Friday seeks to stop a new state abortion law from going into effect. Without it, advocates for legal abortion fear some Ohio women won’t have access to it anymore.

Current Ohio law requires abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with a nearby hospital. If clinics can't get a written agreement with a hospital, it allows clinics to get a variance from the state health department if a consulting physician can provide the coverage. Currently, the Women's Med Center in Dayton and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio near Cincinnati is operating on a variance. But the new law, signed by Governor DeWine in December, blocks doctors who work for public hospitals or universities from signing on as consulting physicians for abortion clinics.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio Kersha Deibel said the new law gives the state health department a medically unnecessary vehicle to unfairly revoke licenses for abortion clinics.

“It overcomplicates the process and creates additional hoops and loops that abortion providers here in Ohio have to go through in order for patients to get care," said Deibel.

That's why the ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the two Southwest Ohio clinics. Deibel said those two abortion clinics could be forced to close if the court doesn't intervene. The law doesn’t go into effect until March 23 but the ACLU of Ohio said it is already being enforced at the Women’s Med Center in Dayton.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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.