At least one abortion clinic plans on staying open to provide other services as the state’s new law banning most abortions take effect Thursday. The people in charge at Whole Woman’s Health in South Bend, say they will stay within the law but will help provide women who want abortions, access.
“I want to be crystal clear about one thing. This clinic is not closing,” said Whole Woman’s Health president and CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller, at a press conference this week. “Whole Woman’s Health Alliance is not leaving Indiana.”
The new law states that abortions can no longer be performed at such clinics, but only in hospitals. That means the chief service will no longer be available. But, the clinic will be offering other services they believe can keep the place afloat financially.
“We will continue to provide patients with counseling, and a full range of options available to them, support in getting the care that they need,” said Sharon Lau, Midwest Advocacy director for the alliance. “Our Wayfinder program can help people who need abortion care schedule visits at any of our four other clinics. and we can help people access abortion with pills by mail in several other states, including Illinois.”
The South Bend clinic, because of the new law, will no longer be able to offer pills on location.
The law bans most abortions, with the exceptions being in cases of rape or incest before ten weeks, and if the mother’s life is in danger or if the baby has a fatal condition.
“I, we have seen first hand the desperation and destruction that result when rights and access are taken away,” said Dr. Meera Shah, medical director for the clinic. “As always these harms will fall hardest on people of color, immigrants, the economically disadvantaged, and other marginalized communities.”
Two lawsuits are pending, neither of which is expected to keep the law from going into effect.
The first lawsuit, filed by Planned Parenthood and other organizations, saying the law violates the Indiana constitution, will be heard by a judge for the first time Monday, in Bloomington.
The second, which says the law violates the state’s religious freedom law, preventing Jewish people from getting abortions that would be required by Jewish law, will be heard for the first time on Oct. 14.