INDIANAPOLIS — As Indiana’s near-total abortion ban takes effect, several abortion clinics across the state are getting ready to close down for good.
However, Dr. Katie McHugh said her work providing abortions to women who want them will not come to an end, it’ll just be moving locations.
McHugh has performed abortions at the Women’s Med Center on Indianapolis’ east side for years. The clinic was seeing patients on Wednesday, but now has to turn them away.
“My heart is just with the people who are realizing they’ll be forced to continue pregnancies that they don’t want or can’t afford,” Dr. McHugh said during an interview outside the clinic.
While McHugh can not legally perform most abortions in the Hoosier state any longer, she can do so in other states. She said she plans to move most of her practice to Illinois and several other states.
“Over the last few months I have obtained several medical licenses in other states including Illinois and Maryland,” Dr. McHugh said. “I am planning to travel to likely both of those states to help provide care there.”
Dr. McHugh said she also has licenses pending in New Mexico, Ohio and Minnesota.
“We know that patients are already having to flock to those states,” Dr. McHugh said. “The migration for just basic healthcare has already started.”
McHugh said the new ban will mostly affect those can’t afford to travel to other states to obtain an abortion. She believes the effects will be long-lasting.
“This is going to cause so much trauma that I think is really undefinable right now,” McHugh said. “We’re going to be dealing with it for likely generations.”
However, today was not a solemn day for everyone. Anti-abortion advocates say this new law will save lives and it’s a day they’ve been waiting for.
“This is a major moment in Indiana,” said Mike Fichter, President of Indiana Right to Life. “We are expecting to see a 95 percent reduction in abortions in our state going forward.”
Fichter said he believes the state can support mothers and babies at the same time. However, he believes the work isn’t done and would like to see a day when there are even fewer abortions.
“Everybody deserves the chance to be born and has value regardless of the means of one’s conception,” Fichter said.
Despite the new law, Dr. McHugh said she is still hopeful that she will one day be able to practice again in Indiana.
Both sides of the issue said they are closely watching the pending lawsuits that are seeking to challenge the near-total ban.