Advocates battle over Ohio’s reproductive issues

By: Jonathan S. Hogue ~Opinions & Editorials Editor

Photo courtesy of | At the Mini March for Life that coincided with the March for Life in Washington, D.C., people gathered to pray outside of Cincinnati’s Planned Parenthood.

With the recent Planned Parenthood shootings in Colorado, Americans are focusing more on the debate surrounding abortion and women’s reproductive health issues.

In the tristate, women’s rights advocates argued for greater access to health services after the city came close to being the largest metropolitan area in the country without abortion access, WCPO reported.

Ohio’s law mandates that clinics have patient transfer agreements with private hospitals in order to perform abortions. Women’s rights advocates argue that this law puts an unnecessary burden on health care providers that wish to provide patients with proper care.

Republican lawmakers approved a bill in September that allows the state to revoke a clinic’s license if health care providers do not respond to state health officials within 60 days of original requests of proof of their agreement with a private hospital.

Planned Parenthood took the state to court in an effort to strike down aspects of the law that the group deemed unfair to patients.

“(The lawsuit was filed) because of hospitals’ fear of the harassment and intimidation they and their doctors would face if they were to enter into a [patient-transfer agreement] with an abortion clinic,” a Planned Parenthood lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit also argues that the state’s regulation does little to enhance health care quality for patients.

U.S. District Judge Michael Barret issued a preliminary injunction that bans state officials from enacting the legislature’s recent law.

This debate is similar to political movements that have swept conservative states in recent years.

Advocates in Texas argued for a similar law that officials said was the state’s only way of banning abortion without explicitly stating so in legislation.

Prominent Republicans in Ohio and Texas argue that patients want government officials to ensure that hospitals keep them safe during medical procedures.

“If the clinics have their way … facilities that lack an important safety requirement would be permitted to continue to operate and to continue putting patients at risk. It is precisely this concern that the automatic suspension provision seeks to prevent,” assistant Ohio attorney general Nicole M. Koppitch said to WCPO.