breakingA federal judge who served as president of Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati has recused himself from a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio against the state.

According to, today:

“Sometimes, the perception is as important as the reality,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said in a statement. “Although lawyers and judges recognize that an association of more than 25 years ago does not create a conflict of interest, citizens are likely to view that question more viscerally.”

He will be replaced by U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett, attorneys for both sides in the case said Saturday.

Planned Parenthood earlier this week sued to challenge an Ohio law that could lead to the closure of its Cincinnati clinic, the last remaining site in the area that performs abortions. The new law, passed last year, requires abortion clinics to create a patient-transffer agreement with a private hospital to stay open. Planned Parenthood’s Elizabeth Campbell Surgical Center in Mount Auburn previously partnered with UC Health, but could not find a private partner. That led the Ohio Department of Health to move to revoke its license and close the clinic.

The center’s closure would make the 2.1-million-person Cincinnati region the largest metro area in the U.S. without an abortion clinic, according to an Enquirer analysis.

That led to this week’s federal suit lawsuit, with Planned Parenthood asking that the law be struck down. The clinic also asked Black to issue a temporary restraining order keeping the health department from shutting it down until he rules on the full case.

Also read my previous post on this story.

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