Thousands expected at South Bend anti-abortion rally

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend will be the site of a statewide anti-abortion rally on Saturday that is expected to draw some 2,000 people.

The rally comes two weeks after a federal judge ruled that Whole Woman’s Health could open a clinic in South Bend without a state license.

The judge found that the licensing rules were applied in a way that placed an obstacle before northern Indiana women seeking abortion services.

“The fact that a federal judge is undermining the state’s authority to allow an unlicensed business to open is showing a disregard for state’s rights and also human rights,” St. Joseph County Right to Life Director Jackie Appleman said. “So this is attracting not only state attention but national attention as well.”

Shortly after the ruling came out, one protester began keeping a steady presence at the clinic site on Lincolnway West. Don Harty says he has been there almost every day and has yet to see any activity at the clinic.

“It’s just wrong that they're being allowed to do this. Especially wrong that one judge could rule that way and override the wishes of the entire state of Indiana,” Harty said.

Thousands of like-minded people are expected to gather on the soccer field at St. John the Baptist Catholic School to participate in the Rally for Life.

“I hope to rally the community together to better pool our efforts to support women and to show Whole Woman’s Health and the federal judges that abortion is not wanted or needed in our community,” Appleman said.

The rally will start at 1 p.m. Among the scheduled speakers will be Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa with New Wave Feminists.

"We are the side that actually does not have any financial gain from this. It costs us money to help people, and so when you follow the money, you start to see that there is a vested interest in allowing this, and that is why you have an abortion clinic that's being set up in a marginalized community,” Herndon-De La Rosa said.

While the rally will be held on the soccer field, the agenda also calls for a walk to the clinic site for a peaceful protest.