(South Bend, IN) – Today Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend asked a federal district judge for emergency relief from vague, arbitrary state licensing requirements and hospital privilege requirements so that it can open its doors and begin providing care to the community.
“Families in Northern Indiana need a place to turn to for safe, compassionate abortion care,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller the President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. “We came to South Bend at the request of members of the community. We have done everything possible to open this clinic, but have been met with nothing but politically motivated, medically unnecessary obstruction by state bureaucrats.”
WWHA requested a license to open the South Bend clinic 18 months ago from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and has complied with multiple requests for evidence and documentation. Now WWHA is asking a federal court for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to allow them to open, arguing that ISDH is singling them out as an abortion provider and applying the licensing law against them in an arbitrary and discriminatory way, not to mention denying their qualified physician the ability to provide care in the community.
“The consequence of this obstruction is an injustice, plain and simple,” Hagstrom Miller said. “It is an injustice to the women we could be serving and to the community of South Bend and beyond, who are seeking their legal right to end an unwanted pregnancy safely.”
“It has become apparent that officials at the Department of Health have a political agenda and have no intention of granting us a license,” said Hagstrom Miller. “We are seeking immediate relief in federal court, putting our patients’ health first and urging the courts to do the same.”
Women in South Bend and St. Joseph County are adversely affected by a lack of clinics in the area.
- There are only six abortion clinics in the state of Indiana and no abortion clinic in South Bend.
- 50 percent of those clinics are located in Indianapolis, leaving only three other abortion clinics to serve women across the state, and none in Michiana area.
- Women are currently forced to drive more than 200 miles roundtrip to get safe abortion care in their home state, or are forced to travel out of state.
“The truth is that low-income people, young people such as students, and most especially women of color and rural women, bear the brunt of these policies. Any woman in South Bend should be able to safely and legally end a pregnancy with dignity and respect,” said Hagstrom Miller. “This Department of Health’s licensing scheme and requirement of hospital privilege requirements is not based on science or medical necessity, but on politics. It’s time to put patient health and safety first—and we will always do everything in our power to fight for the women and families of Indiana.”
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) is working to strategically shift the stigma around abortion care in our culture and is committed to fostering open and honest conversations, lifting up all communities and transforming the abortion care environment. WWHA is a 501(c)3 organization leading powerful stigma eradication, culture change and community education work across the United States. The work is rooted in and informed by direct service work delivering high quality abortion care around the country. WWHA’s largest programs are the operation of clinics in Austin, Texas, Charlottesville, Virginia and South Bend, Indiana where we have opened new clinics in challenging places where access to quality care is under attack.
Help us continue this fight: www.wholewomanshealthalliance.org