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Ohio abortion providers note hardships, closures in suit

December 20, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — One of Ohio’s last remaining abortion providers is asking a federal court to incorporate a host of new developments — including details of its protracted dispute with state health officials and additional clinic closures — into a yearslong constitutional battle against state laws governing their operations.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and Women’s Med Group, which respectively operate clinics in Cincinnati and Dayton, filed their suit in U.S. District Court in September 2015. It targets several provisions tucked into state operating budgets signed into law by former Republican Gov. John Kasich in 2013 and 2015.

The measures, which Kasich’s staff helped craft, require a certain category of surgical facility to get written agreements with nearby hospitals agreeing to take patients in an emergency, but then block public hospitals from entering these agreements. An additional law automatically suspends a facility’s license when a requested variance from the emergency requirement is denied by the state or not acted on within 60 days.

The additions proposed Monday, which the state is expected to oppose, say Ohio is down from 22 to six clinics providing surgical abortions since 1999, and the future of at least two more is threatened if the restrictive laws aren’t reversed.