Whole Woman's Health shuts its doors, no abortion clinic in Michiana

NOW: Whole Woman’s Health shuts its doors, no abortion clinic in Michiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Whole Woman’s Health on Lincolnway West has officially stopped offering services and is closing down South Bend’s only abortion clinic after four years.

The clinic hasn’t actually performed abortions in months, because under the Indiana law passed last year, abortions can only be performed in hospitals.

Some locals still see its closing as one less option for pregnant women. While anti-abortion groups like Voices for Life consider it another victory. 

“When I first heard the news, I felt like both crying with tears of joy and tears of grief for all the lives that have been lost here,” Voices for Life Executive Director Melanie Lyon said. 

Indiana's near-total abortion ban passed last year is still being scrutinized in court, but as written, it outlaws nearly all abortions except in certain cases of rape, incest, and when the fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality.

The president of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance Amy Hagstrom Miller making the announcement in a statement Monday evening:

    “We are devastated to mark the end of our physical presence in South Bend... Even while navigating relentless attacks on our staff, medical providers, and clinic building, we were still able to serve over 1,100 patients for medication abortion care in our small but mighty South Bend clinic.”

“It’s something that I don’t think that they should close,” South Bend resident Naomah Hines said. She believes women seeking abortions may turn to unregulated, unsafe options. 

With Indiana's abortion restrictions the subject of lawsuits and questions from health care providers about what will actually be allowed under medical exceptions, there is still confusion over the future of access in the Hoosier state.

“Why shouldn’t women have the right to make the decision about what they’re going to do, I don’t think men should,” questioned Hines.

Now, women with unplanned pregnancies in Michiana have fewer options and will need more support.

“With abortion being less of an easy option in our community with [this clinic] closed, women are going need support,” Lyons said. "Our community is going to need to step up."

Whole Woman's Health will still take calls and refer anyone seeking abortion care to another clinic in Indiana or to another state where abortion is legal. Chicago and Grand Rapids are the closest abortion providers.

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