The Ohio Department of Health has granted a license to Women’s Med Center of Dayton. It is the last abortion clinic in the Dayton area.
For the past couple of weeks, the clinic has not been offering surgical abortions. ACLU Staff Attorney Elizabeth Bonham says the clinic did not have the proper licensure from the state to operate as a full service abortion clinic.
At issue was a transfer agreement. Ohio law requires each abortion clinic to have a written agreement with a nearby hospital before it can be issued an license to operate. Bonham says the clinic was able to present an acceptable agreement with the Ohio Department of Health.
Bonham says courts across the country have recently ruled laws like this that restrict abortion access are unconstitutional. She says this kind of regulation is designed to make it difficult, if not impossible, for abortion clinics to operate.
The Executive Director for Ohio Right to Life, Stephanie Ranade Krider, says she finds it "shocking that the Ohio Department of Health grant licensure to such an irresponsible individual." Ranade Krider says Dr. Martin Haskell, owner of the facility, has been asking for exceptions and appeals, finding a way to get by under the current system while other clinics throughout the state were able to comply with the rules.
Ranade Krider says her group will continue to stand outside the clinic to pray for women who enter it. She says her group will continue to call for inspections on the facility as well.
The Executive Director of NARAL ProChoice Ohio, Kellie Copeland, says "this clinic has provided safe, quality abortion care to its patients for years and should remain open because patients rely on them for the care that they need."
The Women's Med Center of Dayton was unable to get a standard transfer agreement with one of the local hospitals. So, Copeland says a group of doctors signed an alternative agreement that was submitted to the state. And she says since hospitals are legally required to treat patients, and these doctors signed on saying they will, this agreement meets the requirement of the ODH.
The state is defending its rule on transfer agreements in a federal court right now. Lawyers for the Women's Med Center and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio want to block that state law. The former Director of Emergency Medicine for Miami Valley Hospitals, as part of that federal suit, filed an affidavit that says the state's requirement is unnecessary.