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Govt & Politics

1 of 2 Columbus Abortion Clinics In Danger of Closing

614now Staff



Founder’s Women’s Health Clinic, one of two clinics offering clinical abortions in Central Ohio is facing possible closure because of complicated state requirements, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The difficulty comes from a denied extension to a “transfer agreement” that Founder’s previously held with Grant Medical Center. Upon being denied the extension, Founder’s scrambled to request an exemption to the transfer agreement from the Ohio Department of Health, which was then denied.

The health department did come through with a saving grace though — a “variance” suggested by Ohio Health Director, Richard Hodges, that according to the Dispatch, would allow Founder’s exemption from the “transfer agreement” if they hire another full-time doctor in addition to their current two doctors.

But what do all these technical words mean?

A transfer agreement is a documented understanding between a clinic and a hospital that allows the clinic to request transport to the hospital for patients in case of an emergency situation the clinic cannot accommodate, according to the American Pediatric Surgical Association. The agreement also states that each party (the clinic and hospital) is responsible for their own actions and can be held liable for those actions. This transfer agreement is currently required of abortion clinics by law to handle emergencies.

In this case, the “variance” suggested by Ohio Health would mean that an exception to the law could be approved if the Clinic hires a third doctor with local hospital admitting privileges, meaning the doctors at Founder’s can admit a patient if needed to a local hospital.

If Founder’s succeeds with their variance, it would mean central Ohio women could have local access to necessary women’s care, not just abortions — Founder’s also provides annual pap exams, STD testing, birth control, and cervical cancer screenings.

If Founder’s doesn’t succeed, Central Ohio Women’s Clinic would be the only other option for safe abortions.

This story develops as some in the city prepare to march for abortion rights today from 5-7 PM. A group called Preterm Ohio is organizing a march called “Stand Against Abortion Bans,” and will be calling to Ohio Legislators to relax rulings on laws, such as the “Transfer Agreement” that many argue unfairly restrict a woman’s constitutionally guaranteed right to a safe abortion.

To read more about Founder’s, check out the Dispatch’s article here. 

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Govt & Politics

Ginther names two independent entities for administrative and criminal review of CPD




Mayor Andrew J. Ginther addressed masked members of the media at the Michael B. Coleman Government Center on Wednesday. In the mayor’s address, Ginther gave an update on who would be heading the investigations into police response to protests. 

“I challenge the FOP in joining the community in demanding change and reform,” Ginther said during the press conference.

Ned Pettus, Director of Public Safety, introduced Ginther before he announced the two independent entities charged with completing an administrative and criminal review of the Columbus Division of Police.

The law firm BakerHostetler is being brought in to review cases that require administrative action outside of police policy and are open for discipline with the CPD. So far 40 incidents have been identified for referral to the law firm.

A professional investigator, also a retired FBI agent, will be brought in to review 16 incidents that may result in criminal charges. The name of the professional investigator has not yet been disclosed.

Although Ginther mentioned that the images of the use of pepper spray by the CPD “don’t live up to community or (his) standards,” he did support the continued use of it being dispersed amongst peaceful protestors who were impeding traffic. Ginther did bring up that the city has encouraged peaceful protestors to stay on sidewalks.

Ginther also announced the workgroup that would help establish the future civilian review board, which is slated  for creation by the end of the year Those city officials include:

·        Jasmine Ayres, community organizer, People's Justice Project

·        Fred Benton, attorney

·        Bo Chilton, President and CEO, Impact Community Action

·        Dr. Lewis Dodley, IMPACT Community Action

·        Stephanie Hightower, President and CEO of Columbus Urban League

·        Pastor Frederick LaMarr, President, Baptist Pastors Conference

·        Kent Markus, General/Bar Counsel, Columbus Bar Association

·        Jonathan McCombs, Dean of College of Health and Public Administration, Franklin University

·        Ismail Mohammad, attorney, Ismail Law Office

·        Densil R. Porteous, Chair, Create Columbus

·        Aslyne Rodriguez, Director of Government Affairs, COTA

·        Janay Stevens, President, John Mercer Langston Bar Association, Associate, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

·        Kyle Strickland, Senior Legal Analyst, Kirwin Institute

·        Erin Synk, Director of Government Relations, LNE Group

·        Nana Watson, President, NAACP Columbus

·        Anthony Wilson, Vice President National Organization of Black Law Enforcement - Columbus Chapter

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Govt & Politics

Elizabeth Brown hosts virtual public hearing on demilitarization of police




President Pro Tempore and Finance Committee Chair Elizabeth Brown and several other Columbus City Council members held a virtual finance committee public hearing Tuesday afternoon that lasted long into the evening. The hearing was held to “discuss equipment purchased for and allowed to be purchased for by the police department.”

“I believe that in this country...we strive to have community-based safety forces,” Brown said during the hearing. “I believe for the protection of our residents, for that to exist, there should be a covenant between police and people that we are on the same side.”

In 2015, then-President Barack Obama issued an executive order limiting the amount of military-grade gear going to police departments. In that executive order, there were two lists of military-grade weapons: prohibited and controlled.

In 2017, President Donald Trump rescinded that executive order, effectively opening the door to the militarization of police departments across the country.

Deputy Chief Michael Woods thoroughly listed the use of certain military-style equipment, not limited to weapons, and physical purchases by the Columbus Division of Police. Deputy Woods outlined the equipment that the CPD doesn’t possess as well.

Some of the prohibited items discussed included: 

  • Trekked armored vehicles – none owned by CPD
  • Weaponized aircraft vessels /vehicles of any kind – none owned by CPD
  • Firearms and ammunition of 50 caliber or higher – none owned by CPD
  • Grenade launchers – none, but do use gas guns ($936 each)
  • Camouflage uniforms – CPD wears a woodland pattern ($316/uniform)

Some of the controlled items discussed included:

  • Helicopters – CPD ranks higher in helicopter fleet (six helicopters)
  • Riot shields and batons – haven’t purchased new ones in 15 years ($200 each)
  • Tasers
  • M16 military rifles and gas guns
  • Armored vehicles

There are arguments to be made on both sides when it comes to using military-grade equipment. For example, the roar of helicopters may incite fear in communities, but they provide valuable community resources in locating missing persons or during natural disasters. And if their use is valid, is six excessive and even wasteful?

Columbus residents were encouraged to submit written testimony to Brown’s office and participate in the virtual press conference. Columbus City Council received an outpouring of community engagement, including 906 written comments and 69 speaker testimonies. Many spoke in length about the unprovoked and violent force used by the police since the protests started at the end of May.

“The overwhelming public engagement we received is more evidence of the urgent need to think differently about how we keep every resident safe in our city. I’m grateful to the nearly 1,000 people who lent their voices. I also appreciate (the) Division of Police personnel for providing information to Council and residents — they answered some important questions, and we will continue to ask more questions. Creating public policy is not just putting words on paper; it’s about making a difference in people’s lives. We are all better prepared for that job by having given residents the mic last night.”

President Pro Tempore and Finance Committee Chair Elizabeth Brown said in a statement to (614)

Those who spoke included the Department of Finance Director Joe Lombardi, Public Safety and Veterans’ Affairs Chair Mitchell J. Brown, Director of Public Safety Ned Pettus, and several other council members.

Before the list of prohibited and controlled equipment was outlined by Woods, Lombardi went through the process that the city goes through when setting a specific budget. Here is the procedure for 2021:

  • The budget process begins in June, and the Department of Finance puts together target budgets; target budgets are based on estimates of available resources from following fiscal year
  • A series of meetings will take place between August and October
  • Budget is adopted in February

(614) reached out to the CPD for comment after the press conference and had not received a response at the time of publishing.

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Govt & Politics

Columbus City Council announces additional steps toward police reform




On Thursday, Columbus city council members discussed short and long-term public safety reform measures and opportunities for the public to sit in on a finance committee hearing about the allocation of policing funds.

More dollars toward safe, sanitary public housing; less money spent on militarizing the police. 

City Council President Shannon Hardin began the conversation with a message to the public to hold city council members accountable for the steps toward reform outlined on Thursday.

After it was announced by city officials on June 30 that the Columbus police would no longer be permitted to use chemical agents on peaceful protesters, a group downtown was sprayed on Sunday, according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch.

“We know that the current system isn’t (keeping every resident safe.)”

Elizabeth Brown, Columbus City Council President Pro Tempore

In an effort to continue to improve community relations with police, Columbus City Councilmembers announced four critical short-term measures to continue to slowly reform the police.

Those short-term measures include:

  1. No more no-knock raids
  2. Hate-group background checks for police
  3. Demilitarization of police
  4. Executive order allowing outside independent investigations

Hardin mentioned that a legislative package passing this reform would go into effect by the end of July. He also announced that there would be a finance committee hearing on June 30, where they would discuss what equipment Columbus police is allowed to purchase and use in our city.

“We do write laws and we do pass budgets,” Hardin said.

Brown also discussed the importance of the demilitarization of police and using those funds for investing in Black communities.

“This is our moment to act,” Hardin said. “We have the opportunity to move legislation...that will change our city forever.”

Hardin also mentioned that Columbus residents will be updated on the long-term reform the city has planned for the Columbus Division of Police. This includes providing better resources to mental health specialists and social workers so that they have the proper tools to handle the problems that the police aren’t equipped to do.

Hardin also announced that there will be a safety advisory commission held in July.

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