A group of activists on Thursday delivered a petition to ProMedica’s downtown headquarters urging the hospital system to enable a Toledo abortion clinic — Capital Care Network on Sylvania Avenue in West Toledo — to remain open.
The small group taped together the petition sheets to form a large banner, which they held up outside ProMedica for a half hour and then carried inside the building in hopes of presenting it directly to Randy Oostra, the hospital’s chief executive officer. Their actions were posted live on Facebook.
Annie Krol, a field organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, used a bullhorn to direct chants towards the building. She called to Mr. Oostra and the hospital board, “do not ignore northwest Ohioans who require safe affordable legal abortion care.”
Spokesman Gabriel Mann said the group had to leave its petition with a security guard at the entrance to the building. He said the petition was signed by nearly 4,919 people, of whom 1,001 are from Toledo. He said the clinic serves all of northwest Ohio as well as Indiana and Michigan.
Capital Care Network is the remaining abortion clinic in the Toledo area and is facing potential closure unless it can form a transfer agreement with a local hospital.
NARAL said the agreements don’t cost hospitals any money and do not obligate them to participate in abortions, only to treat any patient that is transferred to them in a medical emergency.
ProMedica spokesman Tausha Moore said that, “with or without a transfer agreement, we will perform any necessary treatment of any patient in need of emergent care. We are steadfastly committed to providing care to all who present at our hospitals.
“This issue is between the abortion clinics and Ohio lawmakers. We do not want to be put in a position of choosing a political stance that is both divisive and polarizing. Our only commitment is to live our Mission by ensuring we provide solid health care.” Ms. Moore’s statement said.
Capital Care had an agreement with the University of Toledo Medical Center — formerly the Medical College of Ohio — until 2013 when the hospital opted not to renew it. Later, Ohio lawmakers prohibited a publicly funded university from providing a transfer agreement to an abortion clinic.
The Ohio Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the law and heard oral arguments in September.
Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said the petition does not represent the sentiment of Lucas County and characterized the event as “bullying tactics.”
“This hospital system is well within its rights to refrain from engaging in the abortion debate and the rest of Ohio applauds their stance,” he said.
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