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Toledo Women's Center medical director: Heartbeat law blockage gives women more time to make 'very difficult decision'

The abortion center is receiving a jump in calls after a Cincinnati judge paused the state's ban on most abortions.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The last 24 hours have been filled with some relief for abortion rights advocates in Ohio. A Cincinnati judge temporarily blocked Ohio's ban on abortions after six weeks, bringing the state back to where it was before the Supreme Court's ruling in June.

Dr. David Burkons, the medical director for the Toledo Women's Center, said they now have more time to work with women who are making critical health decisions.

"They're very relieved," Burkons said. "We've seen many, many patients today, who, last week we would've sent them away. And we're telling them 'no, we can do this now.'"

The pause on the heartbeat law gives women the ability to seek care up to 20 weeks into their pregnancy.

"Now, we go back to where we were before, where I can tell people that I see today, 'if you're not sure, we've got a month, we've got six weeks, to make up your mind what to do,' which gives them some relief to make what is often a very difficult decision," Burkons said.

The clinic is getting a steady stream of calls and emails from people seeking care. Many of the center's calls are handled by Allison Egan, who, over the last few months, was helping people decide from a few options with only days to choose.

"It's a lot of bouncing around between, calling patients back, calling other clinics, calling my boss, calling the doctor," Egan said. "It's all day, every day."

The pause is criticized by anti-abortion activists like Veronica Leguire, who said the reversal is a political decision, not a scientific or legal one.

"I was surprised because when I had heard, initially, that they were attempting to do that, it sounded from the attorney general's point of view that they didn't have a case and they weren't going about it, procedurally, the correct way," Leguire said. "So I was surprised and disappointed."

Burkons is moving forward with a belief that the court's injunction could become permanent.

"From what they tell me, (the judge's) ruling is so much in our favor that it'd be highly unlikely that this isn't going to become a permanent injunction," Burkons said.

The Toledo Women's Center performs medical abortions, which can be performed up to ten weeks into pregnancy.

If someone is further along than 10 weeks into their pregnancy and considering an abortion, the person would require a surgical abortion available in the Cleveland area.

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