The Greater Toledo Right to Life hosted a news conference Tuesday afternoon outside the former Center for Choice in central Toledo to celebrate the abortion clinic's closing and Gov. John Kasich's new budget.
Sixteen pro-life supporters - half of whom were women - were at the event on what Greater Toledo Right to Life executive director Ed Sitter called a day of celebration and thanksgiving to God for answered prayer.
"We recommit to the unborn and to those women who are faced with unplanned pregnancies," Mr. Sitter said. "We owe it to these women to make sure that they are fully informed on the irrevocable decision they are about to make. We will work through service, education, and support to empower these women to choose life for their unborn babies and for themselves."
The $62 billion, two-year budget Mr. Kasich signed into law Sunday, which the group called the most pro-life budget in Ohio's history, prohibits public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements with abortion clinics. State code requires a pact for the transfer of patients needing emergency treatment.
The law also requires doctors to perform an ultrasound to detect a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion and offer to let the woman see or hear the heartbeat, among other measures.
"We realize as rewarding as these victories are, that we are a long way from seeing the right to life enacted into law," Mr. Sitter said.
Center for Choice closed June 7 after it could not find a local hospital that would enter into a transfer agreement. Mr. Sitter said the center had until June 25 to secure a transfer agreement and contest a $25,000 fine by the Ohio Department of Health for at least 12 health, sanitary, and safety violations.
Michelle McCauley, executive director for the Toledo Pregnancy Center, said the center provides services to women in all stages of pregnancy, as well as those who have had an abortion. Mr. Kasich's budget establishes new funding for pregnancy centers.
"The number of services that we offer are great," Ms. McCauley said. "You can come through our doors and find a place of hope and of healing and of compassion."
Joan Canning, regional director of the pro-life Silent No More Awareness Campaign, had an abortion 21 years ago. She said lack of resources and emotional support, not unborn children, are the enemies of women with problem pregnancies.
"We want to educate the public at large that abortion is harmful emotionally, physically and spiritually for women, men and families," she said. "We want it to become unacceptable for anyone to recommend an abortion as a fix for a problem pregnancy."
There was no visible or vocal pro-choice opposition at the news conference.
Carol Dunn, former owner of the Center for Choice said she was unaware that a news conference was being held on the clinic's property. She expressed concern about the governor's budget prohibiting transfer agreements between hospitals and abortion clinics.
“I'm appalled by that,” she said. “It's not over. The folks who worked with us [at the Center for Choice] and volunteered, were very committed.”
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