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Common Council: Women's Care Center site allowed to open next to proposed abortion clinic

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Over the last few months, ABC 57 news has told you about the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, a group looking to open up an abortion clinic on South Bend’s west side. But now, a Women’s Care Center is looking to move in next door.

The South Bend Common Council voted on the zoning ordinance for that property Monday evening which resulted in 5 in favor of allowing the care center to move in to that area, and 4 against.

Hundreds of people who were in attendance, many wearing pink to show their support for a women’s care center next to the proposed abortion clinic on Lincolnway West.

A spokesperson for the Women’s Care Center told the council they are committed to women on the west side and that the care they will provide is critical to them.

While 5 of the common council members voted yes to allowing the women’s care center to Lincolnway West,  some council members think other locations may have been a better option and that it could cause some disruption to neighbors in that area.

“While this location may be desirable for the Women’s Care Center, I do not believe it’s desirable... in fact I know from talking to residents and business owners it is not desirable to people who live and work in the area. There’s a credible concern that locating here will cause harm and will create a conflict zone in an area that’s already wrought with issues,” said Regina Williams-Preston, a South Bend Common Council member.

Nonetheless the vote ended in favor of the Women’s Care Center and council members continuously reiterated that they were focusing solely on zoning requirements and not one organization or the other. I spoke with a few supporters after the meeting who say it’s a big step in the right direction for them.

“So many women came out to stand in solidarity with the mission of the Women’s Care Center and we’re just really proud to see the community come together,” said Ana Gadoury, a Notre Dame student and Women’s Care Center volunteer.

Women’s care center says they will commit to keeping protesters off their property and plan to be a good neighbor to the proposed abortion clinic if and when they open up next door. Stick with ABC 57 news for the latest on this developing story.

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