More Ohio Abortion Clinics May Be Forced To Close

by Lauren Holter

The future of Ohio's abortion clinics is looking pretty grim. On Tuesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the state's $130.3 billion budget after line-vetoing 44 items, but not two new abortion restrictions. The newly approved budget requires that all abortion clinics have admitting privileges with a hospital no more than 30 miles away and that the agreements be approved by the Ohio Department of Health in 60 days. These requirements will no doubt have a detrimental affect on the region's providers, but how many Ohio abortion clinics will have to close? What anti-abortion laws have to do with the state budget is another question entirely.

In 2011, Ohio had 16 abortion clinics. At the beginning of 2013, it had 14. Now, the whole state has eight providers. According to The Columbus Dispatch, three of those are now in jeopardy — abortion clinics in Toledo, Cincinnati, and Dayton may be forced to close if they can't obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The Toledo clinic, Capital Care Network, is the last in the city, and just two weeks ago was allowed to stay open by a Lucas Country judge after the Department of Health ordered it to shut its doors for not having admitting privileges at a hospital within 50 miles. The new 30-mile rule puts it at risk once again.

In a statement sent to Bustle, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said:

Today John Kasich took another step toward his ultimate goal — chipping away at access to safe, legal abortion until it no longer exists in Ohio. These restrictions are not about making abortion safer, because abortion is already a safe procedure.

A similar law in Texas was placed on hold by the Supreme Court on Monday. The 2013 Texas provision also required abortion facilities to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, along with forcing them to meet hospital-like standards. According to The Texas Tribune, the new laws would have closed 10 of the state's 19 abortion clinics.

Ohio has a history of sneaking anti-abortion requirements into the state budget. The 2013 budget prohibited clinics from entering into transfer agreements with public hospitals, which includes teaching hospitals affiliated with state universities. According to Think Progress, most of the state's private hospitals are Catholic, so they won't partner with abortion clinics at all. Governor Kasich and the Ohio legislature are not-so-slowly getting rid of the state's abortion clinics. The eight facilities in Ohio now aren't even enough to care for the more than 2 million Ohio women of reproductive age.