Since November 30, 2016, Women's Med Center has been operating without a license. On that day, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) revoked its license to operate as an ambulatory surgical center. In previous actions, ODH denied annual variance requests from Women's Med Center for the years 2012 through 2016. In response to the ODH action, Abortionist Haskell filed suit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. There, Judge Mary Wiseman issued an emergency order to suspend and stay the ODH decision. In August 2018, Judge Wiseman ruled that she lacked the jurisdiction to overturn the ODH decision. In so doing, she was effectively concurring with the Ohio Supreme Court, which had reached such a decision in a similar case involving a Toledo abortion clinic in early 2018. On September 19, Haskell appealed the Montgomery County court decision to an Ohio appeals court. Because a court-ordered stay remains in effect, Women's Med Center has now been performing abortions since November 2016 without an Ohio medical license.
Relationship with Wright State Physicians
To be in compliance with Ohio law, Haskell’s clinic, as an ambulatory surgical center, is required to have a written transfer agreement with a local area hospital in the event of a medical emergency. However, no Dayton-area hospital has ever agreed to conclude a written transfer agreement with Abortionist Haskell and the Women’s Med Center. Likewise, neither Haskell nor his principal abortionist, Roslyn Kade, has admitting privileges at any local hospital. Previously, ODH had granted a “variance” or waiver of the requirement for a written transfer agreement. The variance was based on written agreements with local doctors who had hospital admitting privileges and who agreed to act in case of a medical emergency. However, this arrangement still fell short of the requirement for a written transfer agreement with a hospital. Since 2013, Haskell’s requests for a renewal of the variance have listed only two local physicians (Dr. Janice Duke and Dr. Sheela Barhan) with admitting privileges at Miami Valley Hospital. In June 2015, ODH Director Richard Hodges formally notified the Women’s Med Center that its variance requests for 2012, 2013, and 2014 were denied and that it “may propose revocation” of the abortion clinic’s license. In the letter, Director Hodges noted that two physicians “cannot meet the department’s expectation for 24/7 back-up coverage and uninterrupted continuity of care.” In 2013 and 2014, Haskell’s variance requests also cited a relationship with Wright State Physicians, of which Duke and Barhan are members. With the cooperation of Dr. Alan Marco, then President and CEO of Wright State Physicians, Duke and Barhan were able to incorporate their individual agreements with Haskell into an “umbrella” agreement with Wright State Physicians, also signed Marco. Addressing this “smoke and mirrors” tactic, the ODH letter correctly indicates that this approach is not satisfactory, since no other member of Wright State Physicians by name has agreed to provide back-up services. In spring of 2017, Dr. Marco stepped down as head of Wright State Physicians and was replaced by Dr. Jerome Yaklic, who himself had joined Drs. Duke and Barhan in signing the 2015 unsuccessful request for a variance. For details on the relationship between Haskell and Wright State Physicians, click here. It should be noted that the agreements between Haskell and Duke, Barhan, and Wright State Physicians provide no additional benefit or safeguard to women’s health, since United States law requires that hospitals provide stabilizing treatment of a patient in an emergency medical condition, regardless of an individual's ability to pay. The sole benefit has been to keep Women’s Med Center in business.