Pro-lifers urge Indiana Health Department to appeal decision
By Dave Andrusko
As NRL News Today reported, last month Clare Deitchman, an Indianapolis administrative law judge, presided over a two-day hearing in which the Texas-based Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA ) challenged the Indiana State Health Department’s rejection of its license application for an abortion clinic in South Bend.
Late last week, according to Ted Becker of the South Bend Tribune, Deitchman issued a “recommended order” in favor of WWHA’s appeal “based on her review of its license application submitted last October, additional information it provided the department, and evidence from the hearing.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and president, called Deitchman’s decision a “big win” following a “long, uphill battle.” In a prepared statement, Miller said, “We will open our doors and provide the care the community needs,” provided the health department doesn’t contest the decision by October 2.
In its denial letter issued in January, the Indiana State Health Department (ISDH) wrote, “Based upon the Department’s review, the Commissioner finds WWHA failed to meet the requirement that the Applicant is of reputable and responsible character and the supporting documentation provided inaccurate statements and information.”
“St. Joseph County Right to Life is disappointed that Judge Deitchman’s recommended ruling does not uphold the Indiana State Department of Health’s denial of WWHA’s application for license,” said Jackie Appleman, executive director of St. Joseph County Right to Life. “We trust that the ISDH will exercise due diligence in appealing this decision. Our community has shown that women in South Bend don’t need abortion. Those facing unplanned or difficult pregnancies can get all the help they need to provide for their unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs without WWHA.”
Booker reported that Deitchman’s order states that “no evidence was provided during the proceeding” to show the license application was “incomplete or inaccurate.”
Deitchman also states that the department failed give the nonprofit the chance to respond to concerns raised by state legislators and the department’s own “informal investigation.”
Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, also vigorously disagreed with the judge’s decision:
“Without an abortion facility for more than two years, abortions on St. Joseph County women are dramatically down according to state reports. But if Whole Woman’s Health Alliance starts doing abortions as a result of this judicial decision, we anticipate thousands of lives will be lost to abortion. Thankfully, this decision does not have to be the end of the fight. We urge the State Department of Health to appeal this decision and protect innocent, human lives in South Bend.”