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Ohio Supreme Court upholds order to close Toledo's last abortion clinic

[JURIST] The Ohio Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday upheld [opinion, PDF] the state's order to close Capital Care, Toledo's last abortion clinic.

This decision overturned [Toledo Blade report] previous rulings made in favor of the clinic by Lucas County Common Pleas and the Sixth District Court of Appeals.

In 2014 the state health department issued an order [Chicago Tribune report] to shut down Capital Care because they did not have a written patient-transfer agreement with a hospital for a period of five months. This agreement was needed to authorize the transference of patients from the clinic to a nearby hospital. The clinic eventually entered into an agreement with the University of Michigan Health Center in Ann Arbor, but this partnership did not satisfy a mileage provision in the Ohio Administrative Code because the hospital was located 50 miles away from Capital Care.

Capital Care appealed the state department's order contending that the new licensing laws placed an "undue burden on obtaining an abortion." The lower courts ruled that these restrictions were unconstitutional. The Ohio Supreme Court disagreed with these rulings, stating that the state department's order was in accordance with state law.

Pre-Term, an abortion clinic in Cleveland, challenged the state department's emergency transfer law in a separate case. However, the Ohio Supreme Court found [opinion, PDF] that the clinic in the Cleveland did not show that it "suffered or is threatened with direct and concrete injury in manner or degree different from that suffered by the general public."

The court did not address the constitutionality of the restrictions imposed on clinics and abortions.

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