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Political Pulse: Toledo to shut down its last abortion clinic; Ohio redistricting proposal to be on May ballot

Political Pulse is a weekly column with the goal of giving objective, to-the-point information to readers on current political events.

Northwest Ohio’s last abortion clinic shuts down

In a 5-2 decision released Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled to shut down the last abortion clinic in the state’s northwest region, upholding a 2014 state order.

The clinic, Capital Care, had been ordered to shut down in 2014 for violating health laws for not having a transfer agreement with a local hospital. The clinic appealed the decision and won in lower courts, but Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office took the case to the Ohio Supreme Court in September.

“Today, the Court affirmed what a vast majority of Ohioans expected – abortion should not be advanced at the expense of women’s health and safety,” Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement Tuesday. “Now that this issue is settled, Ohio Right to Life expects that this abortion clinic in Toledo will be closed immediately by the Ohio Department of Health.”

Capital Care had an ongoing agreement with University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, according to the Washington Post, but state rules mandate having a transfer agreement locally. A transfer agreement is established between a clinic and a hospital, detailing a means of transport should a clinic patient need emergency services.

“Once a woman has made the decision to end a pregnancy, she needs access to safe and legal health care in her community. I can’t emphasize that enough — in her community,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “I am gravely concerned about the impact this will have on women in northwest Ohio. Today’s politically motivated decision is devastating to women who can’t afford to leave town, who can’t find child care for an extended time, or can’t pay for the increased costs that come with delayed care.”

With the Ohio Supreme Court handing down its decision, Capital Care will be forced to close its doors in the coming weeks.

Ohio legislature votes to move forward with redistricting

After months of deliberation, a plan to redraw Ohio’s congressional map will reach the ballot in May for Ohio voters to consider.

The bipartisan plan was created in the Ohio legislature, which wanted to come up with its own plan to block a citizen initiative from going to the ballot in November. The lawmakers worked in coordination with the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition.

The plan was officially sent to Secretary of State John Husted’s office Tuesday after the House approved Senate Joint Resolution 5 in an 83-10 vote, which followed the state Senate’s 31-0 approval on Monday night.

Democrat Rep. Kathleen Clyde, who is running for secretary of state, said she was proud of the coalition that worked with the legislature and their campaign volunteers, according to Cleveland.com.

“They inspire me with the work they have done on redistricting and fixing gerrymandering in our state,” she said.

The decision on redistricting was hailed by national advocates against gerrymandering, including a ringing endorsement from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has dedicated much of his time post-office to fight partisan gerrymandering.

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