The South Bend area’s only abortion clinic is staying open to provide abortion-related care and counseling despite Indiana’s near-total abortion ban, which is set to go into effect Sept. 15.
Whole Woman’s Health Alliance founder and CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said the near-total ban means the clinic can no longer offer abortions. She called it “heartless and harmful,” but said it doesn’t mean the South Bend facility is going away.
“I want to be crystal clear about one thing — this clinic is not closing,” Hagstrom Miller said. “Whole Woman's Health Alliance is not leaving Indiana. We are standing with the community here in South Bend, across the state and across Michiana.”
Instead, Hagstrom Miller said the South Bend clinic will offer abortion related care such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, contraception, counseling and follow-up care. There’s also the abortion wayfinder program, which will help people find, schedule and pay for out-of-state abortion services.
Those could be in-person appointments at out-of-state clinics or via telemedicine.
“A specific example might be somebody here in South Bend who needs to have a medication abortion would need to go to Illinois for the telemedicine visit and then would need to recive their medication in Illinois as well.” Miller said.
For example, she said pills could be shipped to a friend’s house, hotel, post office box or FedEx package center in a state with legal abortion.
“It’s amazing what people will figure out when they are seeking the care they need,” Hagstrom Miller said. “But it does need to be in a state where abortion is legal.”
But despite the plans to still provide abortion-related services, Hagstrom Miller said abortion bans don’t reduce the need for abortions. And that means some Hoosiers will go without care.
“This clinic and clinics all over the county were here because the communities needed us,” Hagstrom Miller said. “If you shutter abortion access in 13 or 14 states, there’s no way all the people who need access to safe abortion can travel.”
“This is going to have a huge impact on public health, maternal mortality and pregnancy outcomes for generations,” she added.
Whole Woman’s Health has partnered with several abortion providers to challenge the Indiana ban in court. The ban also faces a separate lawsuit under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The South Bend facility opened in 2019 and has provided abortion care to over 1,100 patients.
Whole Woman’s Health was founded in Texas and also operates clinics in Baltimore, Minneapolis, Alexandria and Charlottesville, Virginia.