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An EMS crew removes a patient from Martin Haskell’s Women’s Med Center.
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An EMS crew removes a patient from Martin Haskell’s Women’s Med Center.

Ohio halts surgical abortions at facility operated by inventor of partial-birth abortion

Abortion

Abortionist Martin Haskell stopped conducting medical abortions today at his Sharonville, Ohio, facility after his attorneys announced they would not appeal a ruling issued by Judge Jerome J. Metz last week. 

Pro-life advocates know Haskell as the abortionist who introduced the now illegal practice of partial-birth abortions. Metz upheld a closure order issued by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) in January against Haskell’s Women’s Med Center, one of two abortion facilities he operated in Ohio. 

“This is such a huge victory for all who respect life and the rule of law,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “Haskell had the attitude that he was above the law and deserved to operate under a different standard as everyone else. Today, the law has prevailed.”

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Under Ohio law, which requires abortionists to have hospital privileges, Haskell had obtained a variance from the ODH allowing him to provide surgical abortions at the Sharonville facility if two physicians agreed to provide hospital care in case of complications. However, he repeatedly altered the physician agreements without notifying the ODH, and Operation Rescue contends the agreements were made with physicians of questionable repute.

In 2011, Walter T. Bowers II, one of Haskell’s physicians, received a 5-year ban from practicing obstetrics in Kentucky. Operation Rescue also reported four medical emergencies at Haskell’s Ohio facilities. 

“There is a history of problems with this particular ambulatory surgery facility and operator,” a spokeswoman for the ODH said in a January email to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The agency no longer has confidence that this ambulatory surgery facility will take necessary steps to operate in accordance with regulations.”

Magistrate Michael Bachman originally ordered the abortion facility to close by July 10. But Metz issued a stay until Aug. 20, after he heard the case. On Aug. 15, Metz issued a ruling upholding the ODH’s closure order. Haskell had operated in the Cincinnati area for 32 years, Operation Rescue reported

“Judge Metz has now protected women’s health and safety by enforcing lawful medical safety requirements,” said Paula Westwood, executive director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “We are cautiously optimistic, as we do not know whether Martin Haskell will appeal to the next court.”

On Aug. 12, NARAL filed suit in an Ohio court against the ODH’s variance requirements on behalf of the Women’s Med Center. That decision is pending. Haskell likely will continue to operate the Sharonville facility, providing chemical abortions and referring patients to his other facilities for surgical abortions.

Courtney Crandell
Courtney Crandell

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