Indiana judge will decide next week on proposed South Bend abortion clinic

By Dave Andrusko

Several months ago St. Joseph County Right to Life and Indiana Right to Life learned that an abortion facility has applied to open in South Bend. It turned out to be Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend, whose parent company is none other than the Texas-based Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.

Next week, according to Ted Booker of the South Bend Tribune, there will be a two day hearing in which Clare Deitchman, an administrative law judge for the state health department, will decide “whether to grant the group’s appeal of the Indiana State Health Department’s rejection of its license application for the clinic.”

If the abortion clinic ultimately wins, Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend will offer chemical abortions (“medication-induced abortions”) to women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant, Booker reported.

The State Health Department rejected the license application for the clinic because it concluded that the proposed abortion clinic “failed to meet requirements of having ‘reputable and responsible character’ and didn’t disclose necessary information on its application,” the South Bend Tribune reported.

In a press release issued last October, St. Joseph County Right to Life and Indiana Right to Life explained that St. Joseph County had been abortion-free since Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, the abortionist who had his medical license suspended for health and safety violations, ceased doing abortions there in November 2015.

“Abortion activists in South Bend have been voicing their desire for an abortion facility in town since Klopfer’s closure, so it’s not surprising they lured a business to attempt to locate there,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Abortion data from 2016 shows us that abortions on St. Joseph County women were down nearly 50 percent from 2015, the last year Klopfer did abortions in South Bend. In 2016 when women had to travel out of town instead of just down the street for an abortion, they had more time to consider the positive alternatives to abortion, and seek help from free resources like South Bend’s local pregnancy resource centers. ”

The Indiana State Department of Health’s 2016 annual abortion report shows that 161 abortions were performed on women from St. Joseph County in 2016 at Indiana abortion facilities, compared to 312 abortions the prior year. In 2015, there were 578 abortions done in St. Joseph County (includes non-resident women).

2016 was the first year since 1978 that St. Joseph County reported no abortions.

Judge Deitchman will issue a “recommended order” on the appeal, Booker reported. “If no parties object, the order will be final. But if there is an objection, the matter would then be decided on by a three-member panel appointed by the health department.”

Worth noting is last June, Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend “was among three plaintiffs that filed a civil lawsuit in challenging dozens of Indiana’s abortion restrictions,” Booker reported.