Columbus — The August 21 decision from the Ohio Supreme Court to decline to hear an appeal from Women’s Med Center effectively canceled the clinic’s pending variance request and license application. On August 26, the Ohio Department of Health summarily denied the variance request, but the clinic remains open as it continues to pursue its legal options.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Patients need to know that Women’s Med Center is open and continues to be a trusted provider of safe and legal abortion care. Once a patient has made the decision to end a pregnancy, they need access to abortion care in their community, and for the Miami Valley, that care is provided by Women’s Med Center.”
On the state’s transfer agreement requirement, Copeland continued: “It is shameful that Premier Health has shirked their responsibility to sign the transfer agreement that would allow the community’s only abortion provider to remain open—especially when you consider that the agreement would not require the hospital to anything that federal law does not already require of the hospital. If hospitals do not want to be burdened with this medically unnecessary demand, they should lobby the state legislature to rescind this abysmal law. Premier Health should take action to sign a transfer agreement with the clinic immediately so that abortion care will no longer be in jeopardy in the Miami Valley.”
The effort to keep the Women’s Med Center open has been supported by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and a majority of members on the Dayton City Commission. On local government involvement, Copeland continued: “We’re so very grateful for Mayor Whaley and the Dayton City Commission for their support of the people who rely on Women’s Med Center for abortion care in the Greater Dayton Area.”
Women’s Med Center is a party to an ongoing federal lawsuit that is challenging Ohio’s transfer agreement requirement. These rules created by Gov. John Kasich are clearly an undue burden and should be ruled unconstitutional, as were similar restrictions in Texas following the decision of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.