See clarification below.
By Cheryl Sullenger
Dayton, OH – Pro-Life supporters were encouraged when the Ohio 2021-2022 Budget was approved by the State Legislature. That budget contained a provision that addressed an issue with abortion facilities that was long a thorn in their side.
For many years, Women’s Med Dayton (formerly Women’s Med Center of Dayton), a late-term abortion facility in Dayton, Ohio, owned by the notorious abortionist Martin Haskell, had been operating on a variance to the licensing requirement that mandated abortion facilities to maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a local hospital. Women’s Med Dayton could never qualify such an agreement and none of its abortionists held hospital privileges of their own.
The variance exempted the Women’s Med Dayton from the licensing requirement if they maintained a written agreement with three physicians who held hospital privileges that would guarantee they would provide emergency hospital care should any abortion facility patient require it. The variance required approval from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
The budget provision required that the “back up” physicians listed on abortion facility variances must live within 25 miles of the abortion facility and not hold teaching positions at any hospital or medical school.
Every “back up” physician on the Women’s Med Dayton variance also teaches at the tax-funded Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine.
This budget provision would have plugged the loophole that allows dangerous abortion facilities like the Women’s Med Dayton and other Ohio abortion facilities to continue operating even though they cannot comply directly with state licensing requirements. It would also have kept taxpayers from funding the paychecks of those who collaborate and enable abortions, and who likely pass on their radical pro-abortion ideology to their students.
According to, Margie Christie, Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life, during a late-night session after the bill had been approved, Senate President Matt Huffman, a Republican, made a deal to jettison the abortion facility variance provision just prior to Gov. Mike DeWine signing of the budget bill on June 30, 2021.
Christie voiced her displeasure to the betrayal by a Republican lawmaker who had claimed to be a pro-life supporter:
Once again, the Ohio legislature has chosen to deal away protections for women and safeguards for the unborn for political favor. The leadership in Ohio is clearly not concerned with the welfare of women in crisis pregnancies. Year after year, when given the opportunity to save lives, our elected leaders choose the path of least resistance. There is no boldness or courage in our leaders when it comes to enacting truly impactful and pro-life measures in our state. Dayton Right to Life will continue to call our leaders to ACTION.
This isn’t the first time prolife supporters have been betrayed by Republicans in Ohio.
For years, pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, worked through the tedious and lengthy legal process to persuade the Ohio Department of Health to enforce the licensing laws, with which the Women’s Med Center in Dayton frequently did not comply.
In 2015, the ODH notified Women’s Med Center of its decision not to renew its abortion facility license after having successfully revoked the license of an affiliated abortion facility in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville just a few months earlier.
This began an arduous four years of litigation and appeals by the Women’s Med Center, during which time, it was allowed to remain open to conduct some of the most dangerous late-term abortion procedures.
During that time, three more women were rushed from the Women’s Med Center to hospital emergency rooms suffering serious abortion complications.
Finally, on August 21, 2019, the Ohio Supreme Court refused to hear Haskell’s appeal of a 2018 appellate court ruling, which affirmed that the ODH’s license revocation order could stand. That was the end of the road for Haskell’s appeals, and it looked like the dangerous abortion facility finally would be forced to close.
Enter Republican Gov. Mike DeWine. Earlier in 2019, he had appointed Amy Acton as the new Executive Director of the Ohio Department of Health. Acton struck a secret deal with the Women’s Med Center in which she agreed allowed Haskell to slightly change his business name and reapply for a new facility license. Once he did this, she guaranteed her approval of his new license.
That license was issued under the new name Women’s Med Dayton on November 5, 2019. Nothing had changed at the abortion facility itself. The same actors continued to endanger women using an outdated variance. On January 1, 2021, another Women’s Med patient was rushed to the hospital emergency room.
Gov. DeWine stood behind Acton’s move, which circumvented four years of litigation that found every step of the way that the ODH was justified in revoking the Women’s Med Center’s facility license.
Acton was later forced to resign after Operation Rescue published exposés revealing her political affiliations to Democrats and the 2008 Obama Campaign, along with her penchant for telling untruths about her parents and about her past.
“When politicians betray the safety of women and the lives of innocent babies, we should make sure we get to the polls on the next election day and replace these people with strong pro-life men and women who will faithfully stand for life,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We cannot continue voting for those who betray pro-life values for which they pretend to stand.”
Margie Christie had harsher words for those who continue to only give lip-service to the cause of life, while secretly acting to protect abortionists who are a proven danger to humanity.
“The current Senate Republican leadership are not leaders–they are ‘pay to play’ lifetime politicians who will trade ANYTHING or ANYONE to make a deal, including the unborn and women in crisis pregnancies,” Christie said. “They do not really care about you or the ideals you espouse.”
If you feel inclined, please contact Republican Senate President Matt Huffman and let him know that his dealing away protections for women and children in the budget bill is an unacceptable betrayal. He can be e-mailed by following this link to his web contact form.
Clarification (7/2/2021): We have learned that the part of the variance rule that mandates “back-up” physicians live within 25 mils of the abortion facility with which they have an agreement survived into the final bill. However, that part of the provision will have no impact on any Ohio abortion facility.
The part of the provision that prevented those “back-up” physicians from holding teaching positions at any hospital or medical school — the most impactful part of the provision — was indeed dropped from the final version. This part of the provision would have impacted the ability of Ohio’s three largest abortion facilities to continue conducting surgical abortions.
Why would a Republican Senate President who claims to be pro-life agree to keep a part of a provision that has no impact on Ohio abortion businesses, yet drop the part that could have halted surgical abortions at three high-volume facilities? We will leave it up to the reader to decide the answer that question.