Ohio law requires that all ambulatory surgical facilities (ASF), including abortion clinics and many other types of surgical centers, have a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. Such an agreement ensures the continuity and quality of care of patients in the event of a medical emergency. Without such an agreement, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has the legal authority to revoke the operating license of the ASF and order it closed.
No local Dayton hospital, including Premier Health and Kettering Medical Center, has agreed to conclude a written transfer agreement with Women’s Med Center of Kettering and its owner, late-term abortionist Martin Haskell. In September 2014, then President and CEO of Premier Health, Mark Shaker, formally objected to the naming of Miami Valley Hospital in Haskell’s variance application to ODH, stating that the hospital had not agreed to serve in any capacity for Women’s Med Center. Also in 2014, Haskell’s abortion clinic in Sharonville (northern Cincinnati) was closed by order of the Ohio Department of Health for lack of a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. The ODH decision was upheld by a Hamilton County judge in Cincinnati. In May 2019, the Dayton City Commissioners voted 4-1 to endorse a non-binding resolution, calling on Premier and Kettering to conclude a written transfer agreement with Haskell. Despite this coercive action by the City of Dayton, both local hospitals have continued to refuse any relationship with Women’s Med Center.
At the discretion of the director of the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio law also allows an ambulatory surgical facility to remain open with an approved variance, rather than a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. The variance, or waiver, is based on the ASF concluding individual agreements with qualified local “back-up doctors.” These physicians, unlike the abortionists at Women’s Med Center, have admitting privileges at a local hospital and commit to treating patients who are evacuated in a medical emergency. Despite the fact that it has never had a written transfer agreement with a local hospital, Women’s Med Center has remained open because of variances, made possible by doctors at Wright State Physicians Group. Since at least 2013, OB/GYN doctors with Wright State Physicians have entered into written agreements with Women’s Med Center in an attempt to satisfy Ohio legal requirements under ODH auspices.
After failing to act on the annual variance applications for several years, ODH eventually denied the variance requests from Women’s Med Center for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 as insufficient. In November 2016, ODH refused to renew and revoked Women’s Med Center’s health care facility license. That decision prompted a nearly three-year battle in Ohio courts in which Women’s Med Center appealed the ODH action. During the entire time, Women’s Med Center was able to remain open and continue aborting some 40-50 infants weekly due to the stay of the ODH order issued by Montgomery County Judge Mary Wiseman. Abortionist Haskell’s appeal was eventually denied by the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court (August 2018), a decision later affirmed by the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals (March 2019), and the Ohio Supreme Court (August 2019 and again October 2019).
Anticipating the denial of his appeal by the Ohio Supreme Court, abortionist Haskell submitted yet another request for variance in August 2019. This application listed the names of the same three Wright State Physicians who had been “back-up doctors” in previous years: Dr. Sheela Barhan, Dr. Janice Duke, and Dr. Jerome Yaklic (see “The People” below). However, this application added a fourth doctor – Dr. Margaret Dunn – also of Wright State Physicians. The only readily discernible difference between this application and previous ones was the addition of the fourth named doctor. On October 25, 2019, the director of ODH granted the variance application of Women’s Med Center. Four days later, on October 29, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear Haskell’s final appeal. Thus, the actions of Wright State Physicians will allow Women’s Med Center to remain open, even though previous rulings by both ODH and the Ohio courts had determined that it should be closed.
The pro-abortion lobby has traditionally argued that abortion must be legal to ensure "patient safety" and avoid so-called dangerous, "back alley" abortions. Yet when Ohio enacted the requirement for a written transfer agreement on abortion clinics (and all other ambulatory surgical facilities), the abortion lobby decided that this was superfluous "red tape" created by state bureaucrats. According to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, "the required transfer agreement is medically unnecessary; all hospitals are required by law to treat any patient having a complication at any outpatient health care facility. These transfer agreements are just a bureaucratic scheme to close clinics."
This is a hugely misleading statement. It is true that almost every hospital in the United States is required by law to provide necessary emergency medical treatment to anyone, even those without insurance. But such laws were enacted for the protection of patients who are in true emergency situations, such as vehicle accidents or heart attacks. They were never intended to relieve from responsibility those physicians who perform -- and botch -- major surgery, such as abortion, in ambulatory surgical facilities, rather than hospitals, for their own convenience. Those physicians should be held to a higher standard for the benefit of their patients, hence the requirement for a written transfer agreement. So the doctors at Wright State Physicians, by their contractual relationships with Women's Med Center, have NOT provided any additional benefits to women already required by law. Rather, they have simply allowed Martin Haskell's abortion business to remain open.
Abortionist Haskell and Women’s Med Center request a variance with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
Responding to a Feb 12, 2014 letter from ODH, Haskell’s lawyers submit a modified version of the contract between Haskell and the Wright State Physicians group.
New version of contract with Wright State Physicians and the request for a variance are sent to ODH.
The Ohio Department of Health denies request for variance for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 and gives Haskell 30 days to submit a new proposal or the department may propose revocation of the facility’s ambulatory surgical facility license.
Haskell submits a new request for a variance, based on a contract signed by Dr. Janice Duke, Dr. Sheila Barhan, and Dr. Jerome Yaklic, all members of the Wright State Physicians Group. The request also includes a contract signed by Dr. Alan Marco, president and CEO of the Wright State Physicians Group, which says that in the event the three primary physicians are not available, other Wright State group OB/GYN physicians will provide emergency back up services.
Haskell and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio file suit against the Director of the Ohio Department of Health, contending that the requirement that abortionists must have a written transfer agreement with a nearby hospital is unconstitutional. The suit also contends that the 2013 statute prohibiting public hospitals from providing transfer agreements to abortionists is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Barrett issues order that Women’s Med Center in Kettering and Planned Parenthood’s Cincinnati abortion center may stay open and continue committing abortions while they appeal ODH's decision. Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio submits a new request for a variance.
Ohio Department of Health releases a report stating that the Women's Med Center in Kettering, in connection with a 2015 abortion, failed to "ensure a patient was allowed to refuse or withdraw consent for treatment when her physical and cognitve condition precluded her from participating in her treatment."
Dayton Right to Life files complaint with the State Medical Board of Ohio urging it to investigate the findings in the report issued on July 22, 2016 by the Department of Health.
Ohio Department of Health denies Women's Med Center request for a variance for 2016.
Ohio Department of Health revokes the Ambulatory Surgical Center license of Women’s Med Center in Kettering. Revocation follows denial of a variance request in September 25, 2015, and an appeals hearing on April 28, 2016. Women's Med Center has 15 days to file an appeal in Ohio Common Pleas Court either in Montgomery or Hamilton County.
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Wiseman rules on the December 2, 2016 appeal by the Women’s Med Center in Kettering, granting its motion to suspend and stay the Ohio Department of Health's decision to renew and revoke the abortions center’s license. In line with these rulings, the abortion center will remain open until a final decision is made. (See full text of ruling; See news story)
Women's Med Center files brief in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, setting forth its arguments for requesting that the court reverse the Department of Health’s refusal to and revocation of the abortion center's license and its denial of variance of the written transfer agreement requirement.
CEO of Wright State Physicians, Alan Marco steps down and is replaced by Dr. Jerome Yaklic. Yaklic is one of the signers of the contract collaborating with late-term abortionist Haskell to keep his abortion center operating.
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Wiseman rules on August 22, 2018 to uphold the order from the Department of Health to revoke and refuse to renew Women's Med Center's ambulatory surgical facility license. The ruling also stated that the stay issued December 2016 will expire in 30 days unless an appeal is filed. (See text of ruling.)
Ohio's Second District Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the trial court.
Dr. Margaret Dunn, the Dean of the Boonshoft School of Medicine with Wright State Physicians, adds her name as a "back-up doctor" to Women's Med Center request for a 2019 variance.
Agreeing with the position of the Ohio Attorney General, the Supreme Court ruled that the appeal by Women's Med Center was properly decided at a lower level. On October 29, the court ruled against a motion for reconsideration.