Updates: Planned Parenthood to stay open and H.B. 663 passes House

Some updates from previous posts for you on this Monday morning:

Planned Parenthood
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Ohio Department of Health has granted a variance to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, allowing their Mt. Auburn clinic to remain open. As we discussed on November 14, Planned Parenthood does not have a transfer agreement with a local hospital to transfer patients in the event of an emergency situation. While the clinic formerly had an agreement with U.C. Medical Center, a law passed in 2013 outlawed transfer agreements with public hospitals.

Planned Parenthood was unable to secure a new agreement with a private hospital, largely because most local private hospitals are religiously affiliated. In lieu of this agreement, Planned Parenthood has partnered with four doctors who have agreed to see patients at local hospitals should an emergency arise. The law permits the ODH to grant an exception to the transfer agreement requirement if alternative arrangements such as this are made. Planned Parenthood had requested this variance, but when ODH failed to act and threatened to revoke their license, they filed suit in federal district court in Ohio. ODH subsequently granted the variance, and Planned Parenthood has dismissed their suit.

H.B. 663
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio House Bill 663, the bill that would grant anonymity to manufacturers of execution drugs and other individuals involved in Ohio's execution process, passed the Ohio House on Thursday. We discussed this bill in detail last week. Opponents of the bill cite concerns with its constitutionality, particularly the limits it imposes on courts, as even a court order cannot override the anonymity the bill confers. The bill will now be taken up in the Ohio Senate.