(Columbus, OH)   The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments today on a case affecting Toledo's last abortion clinic.  

At issue is whether the Ohio Department of Health's order to close Capital Care of Toledo in 2014 was constitutional.  Lower courts have ruled state lawmakers were wrong to prevent public hospitals from accepting abortion clinic patients in case of emergencies.  

The hospital has been allowed to operate while the appeals are pending.

At issue in oral arguments today will be the state health department's 2014 order shutting down Capital Care for lack of a patient-transfer agreement, which would formally authorize the transfer of patients from the clinic to a local hospital. 

Abortion-rights groups contend the transfer agreements, as well as the mileage limit and other restrictions not at issue in the case, are medically unnecessary and place an undue burden on women's right to abortion. 

But Ohio's attorney general argues the case is not an abortion case but one about health regulations. State attorneys claim the case should be viewed as a straightforward administrative appeal about a surgical clinic-- and if Capital Care were performing laser eye surgery, sports orthopedics or other routine surgeries a common-sense order would surely have been affirmed. But the clinic performs abortions-- and the attorney general argues that fact led lower courts astray.