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Monday, January 13, 2020

Cincinnati Clinic Will Likely be Able to Continue Providing Abortions, Planned Parenthood Says

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 1:50 PM

click to enlarge NICK SWARTSELL
  • Nick Swartsell
A Mount Auburn women's health clinic will likely be able to continue providing abortions under Ohio law, according to Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Ohio, which runs the facility.

The clinic faced losing a variance to a 2013 Ohio law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The Mount Auburn clinic got around that provision by securing agreements with four physicians who have those privileges.

But in late December, PPSWO's attorney advised the state of Ohio that one of those doctors could no longer serve in that capacity. Ohio Health Director Amy Acton said that three physicians would not be enough for the clinic to continue its variance and that it would likely have to stop providing abortions under Ohio law.

Planned Parenthood appealed that decision and the clinic remained open pending a hearing on the matter.

Today, PPSWO Executive Director Kersha Deibel said the clinic has signed an agreement with another physician and filed a new request for a variance.

“We promised our doors would stay open, no matter what," Deibel said in a statement. "Today, I’m happy to share that we’ve secured a fourth back-up physician and refiled our variance. Our license remains in place and patients can continue accessing abortion services at our Cincinnati Surgical Center in Mt. Auburn. Make no mistake, laws that restrict access like this written transfer agreement requirement are medically unnecessary and designed to prevent Ohioans from accessing basic reproductive health care. Regardless, we jump through every hoop politicians put in our way in order to ensure patients can continue accessing safe, legal abortion in Ohio.”

Ohio lawmakers have passed increasingly-strict rules around abortions and the clinics providing them — rules critics say are designed to shut the facilities down.

The state has seen its number of clinics diminish from 55 in 1982 to just seven currently. The Mount Auburn facility is the last clinic in Cincinnati providing abortions.

Other services Planned Parenthood offers have also been hit hard by federal regulations.

As of last year, the local chapter of Planned Parenthood operated six health clinics in the region, but two that did not provide abortions were shuttered in 2019 after state and federal lawmakers ended funding for non-abortion health programs given to abortion providers. Those moves cost the organization roughly $470,000 in funds for sex education, cancer and HIV screenings and other programs. The two clinics served roughly 6,000 people a year, according to Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, most of them low income.

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