DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – More than 200 pro-choice advocates rallied in front of Premier Health Network’s downtown – N. Main St location Tuesday around noon to protest increased regulation on abortions.
The protesters joined the #StopTheBans movement happening in 49 other states across the U.S.
One mother told 2 NEWS she brought her daughters to the rally because she wants them to know they should have control over their body.
“While she doesn’t 100 percent understand, we did talk about how this is to defend the right to do what you want to do with your own body,” said Autumn Bell.
The protest was peaceful. One pro-life advocate showed up, saying she agrees that women have the the right to make their own choices, just not this very specific choice involving life and death.
“To purposely take the life of another human being, is no choice that anyone can have,” said Debbie Nieport.
Pro-choice advocates also had a message they wanted to send Premier Health. The Women’s Med Center, located in Kettering, is in danger of closing if they can’t secure a transfer agreement with either Premier or the Kettering Health Network.
Essentially the transfer agreement is state-mandated and promises that an abortion clinic is able to transfer/rely on a medical network in case of an emergency or needed follow-up.
The hospitals say they will never decline care for someone in an emergency, but will not sign a transfer agreement because it goes against ownership religious commitments.
Premier Health released a statement saying:
We acknowledge that this is a difficult subject with strong emotions on both sides. Our focus will always remain on providing the best care possible for all patients in our community. The requirement that abortion clinics have transfer agreements with hospitals is a requirement of the State of Ohio and was decided at the state level. In the case of Premier Health, and as reported previously in the media, our ownership includes a Catholic organization. Under our governing documents, we have long been – and continue to be – prohibited from entering into certain arrangements, which include transfer agreements with this type of provider. However, our hospitals accept any patient from any source who presents with an emergency medical condition.
Pro-choice advocate Kevin Rankin told 2 NEWS reporter Ethan Fitzgerald that he thinks Premier and Kettering Health are only acting in their best interest and forgetting the community they serve.
“Nowhere in the history of the United States did the founding fathers say we will be governed by a religion,” said Rankin.”Live within the Catholic church, or live for the entire community.”
Rally organizers say if the Miami Valley loses their only abortion provider, women will have to go to Columbus or Cincinnati. With that, there is concern that women will go back to unsafe abortion practices.
“These groups want you to believe that Roe is ‘settled law,’” noted Margie Christie, Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life. “This could not be further from the truth. The Supreme Court just issued a ruling in the Hyatt case showing the willingness to reconsider 40+ year old precedents, and in light of medical advancements, it’s time for Roe to be re-considered.”
Dayton Right to Life says they support Premier Health.
“Premier is a good community partner who really cares about the health and welfare of women. It is reprehensible that this effort is trying to force them to walk arm in arm with a facility that has a 20-year record of killing babies and harming women.” added Christie. “Let’s focus on how this community can help women navigate an unplanned pregnancy and empower families to thrive and persevere.”
2 NEWS will continue to follow the legal situation surrouding the Miami Valley’s only abortion provider.