Dayton — The Ohio Department of Health has granted Women’s Med Center, the only abortion clinic in the greater Dayton area, an ambulatory surgical facility license.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “We are thrilled that the Ohio Department of Health has issued a license to the Women’s Med Center so they can resume providing surgical abortion services in the greater Dayton area. This would not have happened without the courageous doctors who stepped up to sign the variance agreement when Premier Health refused to sign the state required, but medically unnecessary, transfer agreement. This is major victory for the hundreds of Dayton activists, elected officials, medical professionals, and lawyers that fought to keep this important clinic open. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio will continue to stand up against Governor DeWine and Attorney General Yost’s crusade to use regulatory schemes to close abortion clinics and strip Ohioans of their reproductive freedoms.”

Over 700 Dayton area residents called Premier Health and asked them to sign the transfer agreement. The Dayton City Commissioners, led by Mayor Nan Whaley, passed a resolution asking local hospitals to sign the agreement as well. Three thousand three hundred area residents signed a petition in support of the clinic, demonstrating the strong local support for abortion access in the Dayton area.

The clinic has been limited to only offering medication abortion for the past 16 days following a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court to deny the clinic’s request for a motion to reconsider. With this new licensure, the facility is now again fully operational, offering both surgical and medication abortion services. The clinic’s variance request, which paved the way to the long awaited license approval, was approved by the Ohio Department of Health after they secured four physicians to sign on as back-up doctors for the clinic.

Lawyers for Women’s Med Center and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio have filed an ongoing lawsuit in federal court to block the state law which requires a clinic to have the medically unnecessary transfer agreement or variance. As a part of that lawsuit, the former Director of Emergency Medicine for Miami Valley Hospitals filed an affidavit clarifying how unnecessary the state’s transfer agreement is for medical providers, including paramedics; emergency room physicians nurses, and staff; and hospital physicians in obstetrics and gynecology departments. None of the care provided by those health care professionals are affected in any way by the state’s requirement. You can read that affidavit here.

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