Kelley Freeman, state field manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, spoke at today’s Dayton commission meeting. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton leaders ask health care systems to ‘preserve’ abortion access

The Dayton City Commission has approved an informal resolution urging Premier Health and Kettering Health Network to take action to try to prevent women from losing local access to abortion services.

In a 4-to-1 vote, the commission today approved the nonbinding resolution that asks the two health care systems to sign a transfer agreement with the Women’s Med Center in Kettering, the only abortion provider in the Dayton area and a facility that provided care to more than 2,300 patients last year, the document states.

Commissioner Matt Joseph voted against the resolution, saying he is pro-life and did not agree with the resolution’s language.

>>MORE: Kettering abortion clinic loses appeal to stay open, may go to Supreme Court

Four people spoke at today’s commission meeting in favor of the resolution, while three spoke in opposition.

Women’s Med has been unable to get a transfer agreement from local hospitals, and the Ohio Department of Health revoked and refused to renew the center’s ambulatory surgical facility license.

The city’s resolution says the state’s requirement for a transfer agreement from a local hospital is medically unnecessary and simply is a bureaucratic attempt to force abortion clinics to close.

Premier Health or Kettering Health Network can stop a pending health crisis by signing an agreement, said Kelley Freeman, state field manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

>>MORE:Abortion clinic fight: Reaction after a judge upholds the state’s ruling to close Kettering location

“The Women’s Med Center of Dayton is a critical part of this community,” she said. “They provided care to 2,300 patients last year — patients who would be forced to travel out of the Dayton area, possibly out of state, to obtain safe legal abortion care if this clinic were forced to close.”

But opponents said that abortion is not health care but instead is “elective surgery” that ends a human life.

Access to abortion is not necessary to women’s good health and does not lead to lower infant mortality rates as pro-abortion advocates claim, said Margie Christie, Dayton executive director of Right to Life.

“If the city of Dayton would like to pursue a pro-abortion agenda, that is for them and the citizens to decide,” Christie said. “Premier Health should not be bullied into this agenda by inaccurate or misleading information.”

>>MORE:Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs ‘Heartbeat’ abortion bill

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