NOVEMBER 13, 2019
DAYTON, Ohio — In a win for abortion access in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has granted a license to Women’s Med Center, the last abortion clinic in the Dayton area. After a weeks-long legal battle, the clinic can now resume providing surgical abortion services.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, and attorney Jennifer Branch represented Women’s Med in its fight against a state law requiring abortion clinics to have a written patient-transfer agreement with a local hospital — a medically unnecessary regulation designed to close clinics and cut off abortion access. Now that its license has been granted, Women’s Med can return to providing patients with the full scope of abortion care. The case will continue, with the goal of striking down the written transfer agreement requirement.
“Women’s Med has safely provided critical health care services to people in the community for decades, so there was no justification for forcing it to stop providing surgical abortion care in the first place,” said Elizabeth Watson, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “We will continue to fight until the medically unnecessary, unconstitutional restrictions are struck down once and for all.”
“We’re relieved that Women’s Med Center in Dayton is now fully able to see patients,” said Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “The Center had to turn away dozens of patients for no legitimate reason. That’s why we are fighting to remove these hurdles for good.”
“The Ohio Department of Health never should have held up Women’s Med Center’s license in the first place,” said attorney Jennifer Branch. “Patients have had to go to other providers in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis, causing delays and added costs. Fortunately, Dayton-area women will now be able to again access surgical abortions close to their home.”
“Today’s news is a relief for patients across the Dayton area who depend on Women’s Med Center for comprehensive reproductive health care. Ohio is among a growing list of states drastically restricting access to safe and legal abortion through laws that medical experts agree do not enhance patient health or safety,” said Kersha Deibel, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio President and CEO. “Patient safety is our number one priority and abortion is an extremely safe procedure. This was never about patient safety; it was to make it nearly impossible for abortion providers to operate in Ohio and make it impossible for people to access safe, legal abortion.”