Planned Parenthood dealt a blow by state health officials - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Planned Parenthood dealt a blow by state health officials

(Source: FOX19 NOW/FIle) (Source: FOX19 NOW/FIle)
MT. AUBURN, OH (FOX19) -

There soon could be no place for a woman to get an abortion in southwest Ohio.

The two remaining Planned Parenthood locations in Dayton and Cincinnati are in jeopardy of closing.

The state health department's decision could mean that Cincinnati could become the largest metropolitan area in the country without an abortion clinic, but Right to Life, Planned Parenthood's biggest opponent is not rejoicing yet.

Cincinnati Right to Life Executive Director Paula Westwood said she expects Planned Parenthood to appeal.

“We have to wait and see whether this is a victory for women and their unborn babies. This has happened before,” she stated. 

A variance would allow Planned Parenthood clinics in Mount Auburn and Dayton to continue operating without a patient-transfer agreement with a private hospital. 

State health officials denied the variance Friday citing they need to protect patient's health.

“The only ambulatory surgical facilities that are requesting an exception or a variance are abortion providing ambulatory surgical facilities," said Westwood. "We believe that exception just for abortion providers is unnecessary - they should follow the law just like any other health care provider."

Planned Parenthood attorney Jennifer Branch told FOX19 NOW the law was written to shut down the clinics and said the variance was denied because the clinics had only three backup doctors instead of four.

“That department has never required four doctors so it was a new requirement that they didn't tell us about,” said Branch. 

According to Branch, the health department’s decision has nothing to do with women's health and an appeal has been filed to stop two legislative initiatives that would effectively close the clinics.

That means women in the Cincinnati area would have to travel to Columbus or Cleveland for an abortion.

“Those restrictions were put on abortion clinics and they were done so for the purpose of trying to shut them down,” claimed Branch. 

Branch said the timing of the health department's decision is suspicious. 

“They ruled on Friday before the judge was going to rule on our injunction motion is an attempt by the department to stop the judge from ruling and we're hopeful the judge will go forward and rule on our motion for an injunction,” she said. 

That ruling is expected Tuesday and Planned Parenthood plans to appeal the state health department's decision. 

In the meantime the Mt. Auburn  and Dayton clinic remain open.

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