Patients from across country flood to Kettering clinic amid Ohio abortion ban pause

Women are coming from multiple states as far away as Texas seeking an abortion at Women’s Med Center in Kettering after a Hamilton County judge suspended Ohio’s “heartbeat” abortion ban, according to a Women’s Med spokesperson.

“We started providing abortions this past Friday and hope to continue to do so as the case progresses in court,” the spokesperson said. “Demand is very high as we are seeing patients from all adjoining states as well as Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Illinois.”

Abortion is legal in Illinois, but wait times are high — reportedly up to three or four weeks.

ExploreAbortion providers ask judge to extend pause on ‘heartbeat’ law

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Christian Jenkins last week issued a 14-day restraining order on Ohio’s law that bans abortions upon detection of a fetal heartbeat. He then indicated to attorneys earlier this week that he was going to extend the pause to Oct. 12. Abortions are now allowed through 20 weeks’ gestation which is what Ohio law allowed before the heartbeat bill, which banned abortions as early as six-weeks.

The rulings stemmed from the lawsuit filed by Ohio abortion providers, with help from the ACLU, arguing that law violates the state’s constitution. The attorneys for the abortion providers have asked the judge to issue a preliminary injunction that would pause enforcement of the heartbeat law for the duration of the case.

A court date in the lawsuit is set for Oct. 7.

Women are “truly panicking and want to be seen right away” for fear Republican lawmakers in other states will add further restrictions, the Women’s Med Center spokesperson said.

“Women feel the only control they have now is to terminate immediately for fear their rights may be taken away overnight. As a result, our phones are busy eight hours a day, five days a week right now with three to four staff scheduling patients non-stop throughout the day,” the representative said.

The representative from Women’s Med asked not to be named for security reasons.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion advocates have defended the Ohio law. Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis said in a statement after the initial ruling, “We are more than confident that the Heartbeat Law will go back into effect relatively soon. Further, we can assure pro-life Ohio that in the near future Ohio will become abortion-free, regardless of what this local judge ruled.”

Ohio Right to Life held a gathering in Cincinnati Wednesday to pray for an end to abortion in Ohio.

The group said that because of the judge’s ruling, “Fully formed, tiny preborn Ohio babies are now once again being slaughtered.”

Jenkins said in his ruling that the abortion providers are likely to win their case. He said Ohio’s Health Care Freedom Amendment (HCFA) implemented in 2011 could be used to argue the plaintiffs’ case.

The judge said that the law discriminates against pregnant women in violation of the state’s constitution and used examples of women with medical conditions who had to travel out of state to get an abortion so they could receive treatment.

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