Ohio budget add-on could impact Kettering abortion clinic

A pro-choice rally drew about 100 people to Dayton in 2019, including abortion opponents. FILE
A pro-choice rally drew about 100 people to Dayton in 2019, including abortion opponents. FILE

The only abortion clinic in the Dayton region is still open because of an exemption that could be once again in jeopardy under the proposed state budget.

The Ohio Department of Health granted Women’s Med Center an ambulatory surgical facility license under a variance late 2019, which allowed the center to stay open despite a state law requiring a transfer agreement with a hospital.

The center had been unable to get a transfer agreement from either Kettering Health or Premier Health and lost a lengthy series of court battles challenging the law.

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The Ohio Senate version of the state budget added provision into the budget before the chamber’s version passed Wednesday, which would add new restrictions on who could sign variances, including a ban on doctors’ who teach at medical schools or work at state hospitals from signing abortion variances.

Both the House and Senate now need to negotiate and reconcile their different versions of the budget, after which it will be sent to Gov. Mike DeWine.

The Kettering clinic’s variance request had been approved by Ohio Department of Health in 2019 after it managed to secure four physicians affiliated with Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine to sign on as back-up doctors.

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A message was left Thursday afternoon with Women’s Med and Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. On Friday, a spokeswoman with Boonshoft said they typically don’t comment on pending legislation.

About 20,100 induced abortions were reported in Ohio in 2019, which is the latest data available. The number has been declining for more than 20 years, down from around 34,000 reported in 2001.