Air Force sexual assaults: Wright Patt reports increase

Women’s Med Center continues fight for waiver

The attorney for the Women’s Med Center in Kettering, the Dayton area’s lone abortion provider, argued that its operators have a legal plan to deal with emergencies during a hearing at the Ohio Department of Health in Columbus on Tuesday.

A 2013 Ohio licensing law mandates that ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs) have transfer agreements with local hospitals in case of emergencies.

The Women’s Med Center has twice been turned down for a waiver to the regulation by Ohio Health Director Richard Hodges. Clinic officials claim there are three backup doctors available, all on-call physicians with admitting privileges to Miami Valley Hospital.

The law added to the 2013 budget bill has contributed to the closure of other Ohio clinics and in 2014 led a Sharonville facility to stop performing abortions.

“The written transfer agreement is a piece of paper with a hospital,” said Women’s Med attorney Jennifer Branch, as quoted by the Associated Press. “It’s just not a necessity to protect a patient’s health and the clinic has been operating just fine without one for the last 14 years.”

Hodges wrote in a letter responding to the center’s 2014 request for an exemption that the clinic’s plan did not offer the same protection “as it does not meet the department’s expectation for 24/7 back-up coverage and uninterrupted continuity of care …”

The independent hearing examiner, Mt. Vernon attorney William Kepko, listened to both sides Tuesday. Kepko told the Associated Press he will try to get his recommendation to Hodges as soon as possible.

Health Department spokeswoman Melanie Amato told the AP there is no deadline for the examiner’s report to be sent to Hodges, who will make the final determination.

A federal judge ruled the clinic can stay open during the appeal process.

Messages seeking comment left with Women’s Med and NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio were not returned by late Tuesday afternoon.

Several anti-abortion activists attended the hearing, including about 40 from the Dayton area, according to state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp.

“Those of us who take the side of the state believe that they were denied a variance twice now and therefore they should have their revoked,” Antani said. “Clearly, they’re not meeting the standard of care that is supposed to be met in a transfer agreement or in a variance.”

Antani, who said he attended most of the hearing, indicated that Branch said she may sue the state in common pleas court.

Abortion rights supporters have said the abortion clinics are being held to higher standards just to get them to close. Since 2010, eight such clinics have been shut down.

An Associated Press investigation in 2015 found aides to Republican Gov. John Kasich honed some of the 2013 provisions about 18 months before they emerged publicly, despite Kasich never attaching his administration to the proposals during the budget process.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Superheroes stage holiday shopping spree at Target 
Superheroes stage holiday shopping spree at Target 

Christmas shoppers can usually find superheroes on toy shelves at Target. But, here’s a twist: shoppers at a Kansas City area Target discovered superheroes shopping for toys at Target. Iron Man, Thor, Supergirl, Snow White and Captain America were among the comic book heroes shopping for kids Sunday night at the Target in Mission, Kansas, ...
Fairfield Twp. man killed in weekend crash
Fairfield Twp. man killed in weekend crash

A Butler County man was killed Saturday night in a two-vehicle crash on Hamilton-Middletown Road in Liberty Twp. FIRST REPORT: One dead after 2-vehicle crash in Liberty Twp. Jeff McMurray, of Fairfield Twp., died at the scene of the accident that happened at about 8:20 p.m. in the 4200 block, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. A...
Middletown McDonald’s demolished; new restaurant to reopen in 2018
Middletown McDonald’s demolished; new restaurant to reopen in 2018

For the first time in decades, there is no McDonald’s on Verity Parkway in Middletown. That location is being demolished as workers are building another McDonald’s at the same location, according to a company spokesman and city records. RELATED: McDonald’s spending $2.1 million on 2 Middletown restaurants McDonald’s is expected...
Snow squalls could cause white-out conditions Tuesday
Snow squalls could cause white-out conditions Tuesday

The Storm Center 7 team of meteorologists are forecasting the potential for isolated snow squalls to impact the region Tuesday, which could create for reduced visibility for some drivers in the area. The timing of the snow squalls is looking to be for the first part of Tuesday.  The moisture will be coming from Lake Michigan and  when the...
Middletown police take children in need shopping for Christmas
Middletown police take children in need shopping for Christmas

A long line of Middletown police vehicles stood in front of the Meijer store on Towne Boulevard early Saturday morning, but it was the opposite of an emergency. Children’s smiles — rather than police-cruisers’ pursuit lights — were flashing, as officers and other police employees took 61 children around the store, mainly to...
More Stories