Women’s Med Center, abortion clinics granted restraining order to stay open

In response to an emergency lawsuit filed on behalf of Ohio abortion clinics, including one in Kettering, a federal judge Monday afternoon granted a temporary restraining order that allows the clinics to continue to provide abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Approximately a week ago, a letter from the Ohio Department of Health was sent to the Women’s Med Center of Dayton, on Stroop Road in Kettering, saying the state received a complaint it was performing surgical abortions that use personal protective equipment. The letter was sent to at least one other clinic as well.

“On behalf of the department, you and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions,” according to the letter. “Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient.”

The letter warned that the ODH would take action if the facility does not stop performing “non-essential” or elective surgical abortions.

Women’s Med lawyer, Jennifer Branch said that Judge Michael Barrett’s ruling should clear up any confusion about the rights of the clinics to stay open. All of Ohio’s abortion clinics are still open and providing care in compliance with the ODH order on essential surgical care.

“WMCD and the other clinics have been committed to following the Department of Health pandemic orders. It is frustrating that some fringe anti-abortion groups have been complaining about the clinics,” Branch said. “Taking advantage of a global pandemic to promote a political agenda is shameful. WMCD and the other providers are doing their part to protect patients, provide essential healthcare, and preserve protective equipment.”

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State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, said by allowing the clinic to remain open is causing resources to be used that could otherwise be spent helping combat the COVID-19 crisis.

“Conserving personal protective equipment is necessary to protect the lives of frontline healthcare workers during this pandemic,” Antani told the Dayton Daily News. “The fact that these abortion clinics want to keep operating will result in the deaths of healthcare workers. They should be ashamed of themselves. This clearly shows those in the abortion industry are in it for the profit, and value no human life, born or unborn.”

Dayton Right to Life Executive Director Margie Christie, said she thinks Women’s Med and the other abortion clinics should be closed.

“Needless to say we are disappointed with the court’s decision,” Christie said. “The abortion facilities in this state continue to showcase their lack of concern for the health of all Ohioans. They want only to protect their specialty business of abortion, so they run for cover to activists judges, like Judge Barrett. Our public health and our healthcare system continues to be endangered by these reckless facilities.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said that by going to court on Monday, Ohio’s abortion providers are standing up for their patients and the communities they serve to ensure that patients who need an abortion can still get one.

“The court should recognize this political interference for what it is - a callous attack on people in need of abortion care. The courts should allow clinics to continue to provide time-sensitive and essential services to their patients,” Copeland said.

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