The city’s last remaining women’s health clinic that provides abortions might soon be shuttered.
The Elizabeth Campbell Medical Center, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Mount Auburn, received a citation dated Oct. 14 from the Ohio Department of Health because it is not compliant with a law requiring it to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
The center had an agreement with University of Cincinnati Hospital, but a law passed last year prohibits publicly funded hospitals from agreeing to take a clinic’s patients in an emergency.
Clinics can apply for an exception to the rule, called a variance, if they show they have lined up individual doctors at hospitals willing to take patients from the clinic should an emergency happen.
The Planned Parenthood clinic said it has lined up three doctors with admitting privileges and applied for the variance more than a year ago. The state has not replied to its application.
In a statement, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, an abortion rights advocacy organization, said it was “flabbergasted” at news of the citation. Executive Director Kellie Copeland said in the statement that the state shouldn’t be citing the clinic when it hasn’t moved on the Planned Parenthood facility’s application for a variance yet.
The clinic is currently the only abortion provider open in the Greater Cincinnati area. Another clinic, Women’s Med Center in Sharonville, ceased providing abortions in September after the state denied its request for a variance. The clinic remains open providing other services.
Another Women’s Med location in Dayton also does not have an agreement with a local hospital and could be shut down as well.
Pro-life activists and lawmakers say the rules are for women’s safety. The number of clinics in Ohio, which stood at 14 before the latest restrictions were passed, is now down to eight.
“With each passing month, we are seeing Ohio’s abortion industry crumble because of their own inability to comply with the law,” Stephanie Ranade Krider, director of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement.
If the Mount Auburn facility closes, Cincinnati would become the largest metropolitan area in the country without access to abortion procedures.
The closures, and the long travel times they could cause, could lead to a legal challenge for the state. Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that struck down state and federal restrictions against abortion, says states cannot put an “undue burden” on women seeking to end pregnancies.