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Ohio’s first abortion facility ordered to surrender surgical license

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Ohio’s first abortion facility surrendered its surgical center license and will no longer perform surgical abortions.

The Founder’s Women’s Health Center in Columbus relinquished its license on November 13 after an inspection of the facility by the Ohio Department of Health, Greater Columbus Right to Life (GCRTL) reported.

The abortion facility is where Harley Blank, Ohio's first practitioner of legal abortion, had been working. Blank surrendered his medical license after more than 45 years of performing abortions earlier this month amid charges he improperly prescribed medicine to men and did not keep records.

After news broke Wednesday of Blank’s license revocation, a number of pro-life groups made public records requests regarding the facility’s ambulatory surgical license.

GCRTL said early Thursday afternoon it had not received records in response to the request. However, Ohio Right to Life had shared with the group the results of a similar request that it had made.

A brief letter signed by an administrator for the Founder’s facility, Judith Nolan, confirmed specifics.

“To whom it may concern: The Ohio Department of Health was here for an inspection on Tuesday, November 13, 2018,” the letter stated. “At this time, Founder’s Women’s Health Center has surrendered its surgical center license. Please be advised that Founder’s Women’s Health Center will no longer be performing surgical abortions thus forth.”  

Also attached was a copy of the original Founder’s license issued in March 2003, with “VOID” written across the document, along with a notation that it had been submitted with the facility’s notice of surrender.

GCRTL executive director Beth Vanderkooi spoke via a statement about the efforts her group has put forth in raising awareness on the danger to women and others posed by the abortion facility.

"For years, we have served as the local watchdog at the clinic, shining a light on the terrible conditions and the lax standard of patient care,” Vanderkooi said. “We have watched, frustrated, when this business - often operating without a basic business license - was permitted to continue hurting women and killing children.”

She commented as well on how the local media did not cover the sexual crimes against children of a former physician at the abortion facility and how abortion advocates turned a blind eye to the women being hurt at the facility.

“We did not just watch. We prayed. We fasted. We investigated, and we uncovered,” Vanderkooi said. “We also continued to help hundreds of women find life-affirming, supportive care with local pregnancy resource centers.” 

Vanderkooi pledged to continue in the mission to end abortion in the area.

“We give thanks to God for this victory - which is both practical and symbolic,” she said, “and we urge all those of faith to join us in a spirit of peaceful prayer and activism as we tackle whatever comes next."

Mark Harrington, president of Columbus-based pro-life group Created Equal, praised the progress made by the local pro-life community’s fight against abortion, evidenced by the Founder’s facility license relinquishment.

“Columbus, OH now has one abortion center,” Harrington told LifeSiteNews. “It wasn’t long ago there were seven killing centers in this city of two million residents. Thanks to the faithful efforts of the pro-life community, abortionists are increasingly having difficulty keeping their grisly businesses open.”

Founder's has had an incredibly questionable history, Vanderkooi said in her news release.

Aside from the thousands of unborn children who have died by abortion in the 46 years since it opened, she said, it has a history of patient care problems, failed health inspections, and both the physicians and management company have gotten in legal trouble for problems ranging from child pornography to unpaid tax liens to unlawful provision of controlled substances.

The latter charge is documented in the state paperwork for Blank having lost his medical license.

Founder’s Women’s Health Center is also the abortion facility where an abortion activist and volunteer came close to running down a priest last year with her vehicle as she fled the scene after having been caught stealing signs during a pro-life vigil at the facility.  

Founder’s had announced a "temporary" closure in June, Vanderkooi noted.

And later, a lawsuit highlighting many of the problems that GCRTL had documented for years in complaints to the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Secretary of State, the Ohio Attorney General, and the Ohio Medical Board was filed between the physician owners of the facility and the nurse in charge of day-to-day operations since 2012.

The pro-life group says continued traffic to the Founder’s facility could indicate that it will operate as a pill-only facility, similar to another local facility, "Your Choice." It’s also possible that Founder’s is closing down, or seeing only follow-up patients, or that its operators plan to reopen with a new name.

Vanderkooi said GCRTL will continue to monitor the situation and stand in defense of life.

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