The new budget bill recently passed in Ohio added unprecedented new restrictions on abortions. Ohio state law OAC 3701-83-19 (E) currently requires that “Ambulatory Surgical Facilities” maintain a transfer agreement with a hospital as part of their licensing requirements. The new budget bill, starting at line 10257, states that:
(B) No public hospital shall do either of the following: > (1) Enter into a written transfer agreement with an ambulatory surgical facility in which nontherapeutic abortions are performed or induced;
(2) Authorize a physician who has been granted staff membership or professional privileges at the public hospital to use that membership or those privileges as a substitution for, or alternative to, a written transfer agreement for purposes of a variance application described in section 3702.304 of the Revised Code that is submitted to the director of health by an ambulatory surgical facility in which nontherapeutic abortions are performed or induced.”
In short, in order to maintain their license to practice, abortion clinics would be required to maintain written transfer agreements with hospitals that the new law prohibits.
Furthermore, doctors are prohibited from using public hospitals to provide abortion services by Ohio law ORC 5101.57 (B) which reads:
(B) No public facility shall be used for the purpose of performing or inducing a nontherapeutic abortion.
Private hospitals do not serve all areas currently served by abortion clinics, and many are religiously-affiliated and may not be willing to make the necessary agreements with clinics.
If these provisions stand, only a written transfer agreement with a private hospital can keep abortion clinics legally operating in the state, and abortion clinics are the only facilities legally allowed to provide abortions.
The bill has already passed both the house and the senate. Governor Kasich has until 11:59pm Sunday to line-item veto any of the new abortion restrictions, but there is nothing to stop him from signing it earlier with these provisions intact.