A Texas-based abortion chain is trying another legal avenue this week to force Indiana to allow it to open a new abortion facility in South Bend.
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance has been trying to open in South Bend for almost two years. The group is closely linked to Whole Woman’s Health, a Texas-based abortion chain that has amassed dozens of health and safety violations at its abortion facilities.
On Wednesday, it asked a federal court for “emergency relief” from state licensing requirements, WSBT News 22 reports. In other words, it wants to open without following state law.
Last year, the Indiana State Department of Health denied the abortion facility a license after it said Whole Woman’s Health provided inaccurate information on its license application. The abortion chain appealed, but an administrative panel upheld the state’s decision in November.
The abortion group now is suing the state to overturn what it claims are “arbitrary” and “vague” state abortion clinic regulations, including licensing requirements. But because arguments in the lawsuit are not scheduled until August 2020, it wants a court to grant it a temporary, “emergency” order to open without a license, the South Bend Tribune reports.
“We’re asking them to block the enforcement of the licensing law so we can open,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of the abortion group.
Hagstrom Miller told the newspaper that waiting another year to open would be unreasonable. She also claimed there is a “political agenda” working against her.
“We’ve gone back and forth with [the state] for 18 months,” she said. “They have no intention of granting this license.”
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In late 2017, pro-life advocates learned that the abortion chain planned to open a new abortion facility in South Bend. Whole Woman’s Health – which is very closely linked to Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (Hagstrom Miller runs both) – has a shoddy reputation, including dozens of health and safety violations at its Texas facilities.
Health inspection reports show numerous problems with sterilizing and disinfecting instruments that were used on multiple women. The abortion chain also failed to provide a safe and sanitary environment at many of its Texas facilities, according to the state inspection reports. State inspectors also found rusty spots on suction machines that had the “likelihood to cause infection” and other issues that put women’s health in jeopardy.
These violations may have influenced Indiana state officials’ decision. According to the state Department of Health letter obtained by Indiana Right to Life, “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.”
The denial letter also states that a person may not provide abortions unless holding a license issued by the state. For now, South Bend will remain abortion-free.
Tens of thousands of pro-life advocates and prominent female lawmakers have sent the strong message that they do not want another abortion business in their state. U.S. Congresswoman Jacki Walorski, of Indiana, sent a letter to the state department to express her concerns.
“Indiana and its leaders have worked hard to make meaningful strides to combat the rate of abortions within the state,” Walorski wrote. “These crucial gains in protecting the sanctity of life would be undermined should the application receive the state’s approval.”
In 2017, the abortion group applied for a license to open a new facility at 3511 Lincoln Way W., an old chiropractic clinic. It plans to provide first-trimester abortion drugs at the facility, according to the Tribune.
South Bend, the home of Notre Dame University, has not had an abortion facility since 2015 when abortionist Ulrich Klopfer was forced to close. He was charged with 1,833 abortion violations, including failures to report rapes of teen girls to authorities.