Abortion clinic opens in South Bend without state licensing after federal ruling

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - After two years of fighting for permission to open, an abortion clinic in South Bend is now scheduling appointments and will see patients as early as next week.

“We're protected by the injunction that we won at the federal court level that gave us the green light to be able to open our doors, so the clinic is completely ready and we're going to be seeing patients starting next week,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.

Whole Woman's Health was denied a license by the state of Indiana two years ago, and they took their fight before a federal judge. Earlier this month, the judge issued an injunction to allow the clinic to open without the state license.

“Whole Women's Health will be operating without a license, so they're not subject to routine inspections,” said Jackie Appleman, the executive director of St. Joseph County Right to Life. “So this is going to result in hundreds of deaths of unborn humans and be really dangerous for the women in our community.”

Whole Woman's Health argues they are certified by the National Abortion Federation.

“Licensing of facilities has really been a strategy of the anti-abortion movement to target abortion facilities as somehow different than a doctor's office-based practice,” Miller said.

Right to Life points out that CheckMyClinic.org obtained public records of inspection reports from the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Peoria, Illinois, and found the facility failed to ensure equipment was inspected and maintained and that they used expired medications, among a list of other violations written out in 60 pages.

“It's just showing that Whole Woman's Health is not about women's health, it's about selling abortions at any cost,” Appleman said.

But the clinic in South Bend argues their doctors are licensed to run a good practice.

“Our physicians are licensed and our laboratory is licensed, and we adhere to the highest standards of quality in abortion care medicine in the country,” Miller said.

The legal battle for Whole Woman's Health is not over, as Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed an appeal to try to stop the clinic's opening.