Nonprofit seeks state license for Indiana abortion clinic

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — An Austin, Texas-based nonprofit has applied for a state license to open a non-surgical abortion clinic in South Bend, but abortion opponents already are fighting it.

The clinic operated by the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance would offer abortion medication that women would take in the presence of a physician, then take medication at home one or two days later and return to the clinic to confirm their pregnancy had been terminated, The South Bend Tribune reported Friday. It cited a copy of the clinic’s license application, which it obtained via a public records request.

The nonprofit has asked the Indiana State Health Department to waive certain abortion-licensing requirements because surgical abortions would not be provided, the report said.

The department is reviewing the clinic’s application, agency spokeswoman Jeni O’Malley said.

Currently, the nearest abortion providers to South Bend are in Merrillville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. A South Bend abortion clinic closed in late 2015.

Indiana Right to Life says the health department’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, it said.

Indiana Right to Life and St. Joseph County Right to Life and are encouraging supporters to voice their opposition to the proposed clinic. The groups have created an online email form that supporters can send to elected officials to say they oppose the clinic.

“If there is a chance for us to stop this clinic from opening, we will do everything in our power to do that,” said Antonio Marchi, program director for St. Joseph County Right to Life.

If the clinic opens, Right to Life members will make sure women who visit the clinic can get all the help they need without going through with an abortion, he said.

Whole Woman’s Health website said it currently operates women’s health and abortion clinics in eight cities: Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio and McAllen, Texas; Peoria, Illinois; Baltimore; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Minneapolis.

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