Cincinnati's only health clinic that provides abortions continues to look for a physician after one of four required doctors resigned.
Ohio Health Director Amy Acton says the Mount Auburn Planned Parenthood facility doesn't have enough doctors lined up for emergency care after one of the four doctors required for coverage resigned in late December. The clinic had a list of on-call doctors willing to respond to patient emergencies, but on Dec. 26, Acton rescinded a 2016 variance allowing the clinic to operate that way.
The clinic doesn't have an agreement with a nearby private hospital to take patients in case of complications, which is required by state law. Late last year, a clinic in Dayton was almost forced to close for the same reason.
Abortion rights opponents say such agreements ensure the safety of patients, while advocates of abortion rights say they are unnecessary because hospitals don't turn away people in need of help.
"It is our position that the state’s requirements for a written transfer agreement or variance are medically unnecessary and just another strategy on the part of the state to place unconstitutional barriers on a person’s right to safe, legal abortion," Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region President and CEO Kersha Deibel told WVXU in a statement.
Planned Parenthood locations in Western Hills and Springdale closed in September after state and federal efforts to defund the agency and stop doctors from referring patients to abortion providers. The two Cincinnati-area clinics offered STI/STD testing and treatment, birth control and cancer screenings.
WVXU reached out to Acton for comment but she declined.
The clinic remains open pending a hearing on the matter. The date for the hearing has not yet been set.
In the meantime, Diebel says the clinic is working to find a new provider.