Press Release for South Bend Clinic Closure

PRESS RELEASE

September 12, 2022 

Media Contact:   

Whole Woman’s Health Alliance Forced To Stop Performing Abortions In Indiana — Clinic Will Remain Open to Support Abortion Patients and Fight Back Against Unjust Laws 

Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance will hold a press conference at its South Bend clinic on Wednesday, September 14, at 10 am ET. More info below. Message Moises Serrano at mserrano@wholewomanshealth.com to RSVP.

SOUTH BEND, Indiana – With Indiana’s ban on nearly all abortions in the state set to take effect on Thursday, September 15, Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend will be forced to stop providing abortion care — but the organization will keep the clinic open to continue offering support to all who seek abortion services, and to continue its activism and organizing to roll back cruel, unjust anti-abortion laws.

“We fought hard for three years to answer the call of the many Hoosiers who urged us to open this clinic, and we will continue doing everything we possibly can to support those who will continue to need abortion care in spite of the extremist politicians standing in their way,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of WWH/A.

“Our message to the South Bend community is that we can still help you get compassionate, high-quality abortion care. Our message to Governor Holcomb and the heartless legislators who enacted this disastrous law is that this fight is far from over, and you will not prevail.”

While WWH of South Bend cannot provide abortion care in Indiana under this ban, Whole Woman’s Health’s Virtual Care program offering medication abortion by mail is operational in neighboring Illinois, and also in Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia and New Mexico. Abortion patients can get care in these states via telemedicine up to 11 weeks. Additionally, Whole Woman’s Health clinics in Baltimore, Minneapolis, Alexandria VA, and Charlottesville VA remain open. And WWHA’s Abortion Wayfinder program can help people from states where abortion is banned find their way to our clinics and abortion by mail programs. WWHA helps abortion patients plan travel to out-of-state clinics — including flights, hotels, and local support services — and can cover all or part of the cost.  

“The lawmakers behind this ban have turned their backs on every person and family across the state facing the complex decisions that come with every pregnancy, but we never will,” said Sharon Lau, Midwest Advocacy Director for WWHA. “We will continue to offer our community in Indiana counseling on the full range of options available to them, support in getting the care they need, and our tireless partnership in advocating for the restoration of their rights and access to abortion care where they live and when they need it.”

Responding to a request from a regional coalition to open a clinic, and a clear need in Indiana for the kind of personal, empathetic, high-quality abortion care for which Whole Woman’s Health has become widely known and respected, WWHA started working to open the South Bend clinc in 2015. For three years anti-abortion forces locally and in state government made clear their intention to prevent the clinic from ever opening, denying WWH/A’s application for state clinic licensure and a subsequent appeal. Beginning in 2018, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance began litigating to overcome a litany of regulations and restrictions aimed at keeping the clinic offline — and, in 2019, prevailed and opened its doors.

Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend has served more than 1,000 patients from the surrounding communities and states since then, but is now being forced to stop performing abortions under the near-total ban enacted in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Represented by the Lawyering Project, the ACLU of Indiana, and WilmerHale, WWHA has joined abortion care and counseling providers All Options, Women’s Med Center, and Planned Parenthood in further litigation to stop this ban from taking effect. The case remains undecided and is currently in the hands of Indiana Special Judge Kelsey Hanlon following the recusal without explanation of two consecutive judges to whom it was previously assigned. A Preliminary Injunction hearing is set for Monday, September 19, in Indianapolis. 

In the meantime, the Indiana abortion ban — enacted hastily and stealthily over the vocal objections of many Hoosiers and in spite of public opinion clearly favoring broader access to abortion care — poses a serious threat to people and families across the state and beyond, and will cause significant damage if it is allowed to go into effect.

“We know how integral abortion access is to people’s health, well-being, and prosperity because we see it every day in the lives of the people who come through our doors seeking our counsel, care, and support,” said Dr. Meera Shah, Co-Medical Director of Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend and reproductive rights, health, and justice advocate and abortion provider for Planned Parenthood and others.

“Make no mistake about it: this ban threatens people’s lives and physical health. But the harm it will cause goes far beyond even that, shaking the foundations of people’s economic and emotional security by foreclosing their options and ability to shape their lives and futures for themselves.”


PRESS CONFERENCE: WWH and WWHA leadership will discuss the future of abortion rights and access in Indiana and what’s next for clinic operations during a press conference at Whole Woman’s Health South Bend on Wednesday, September 14, at 10 am ET. There will be time for Q&A.

RSVP Required: Members of the media must register for the press conference in advance. Please contact Moisés Serrano at moisesserrano@wholewomanshealth.com.

Speakers will include:  

  • Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO, Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance
  • Sharon Lau, Midwest Advocacy Director for Whole Woman’s Health Alliance
  • Dr. Meera Shah, Co-Medical Director for WWH of South Bend

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About Whole Woman’s Health: Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) is a privately-owned healthcare organization, committed to providing holistic reproductive health care. Clinics managed by WWH provide comprehensive gynecology services, including abortion care, in the South and the Midwest, where access to abortion is most restricted. It is our philosophy that everyone must be at the center of their own healthcare decisions, and that treating patients holistically will better serve and improve health and happiness in our communities. WWH manages 5 clinics located in: Bloomington, MN, Baltimore, MD, South Bend, IN, Charlottesville, VA, and Alexandria, VA. WWH also offers virtual abortion care services in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Virginia. For more information: www.wholewomanshealth.com 


About Whole Woman’s Health Alliance: Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) works to strategically shift the stigma around abortion in our culture and is committed to fostering open and honest conversations, lifting all communities, and transforming the abortion care environment. WWHA is a 501(c)3 organization leading powerful stigma eradication, culture change and community education work across the United States. The work is rooted in and informed by direct service work delivering high quality abortion care around the country. WWHA’s largest programs are the operation of clinics in Bloomington, MN, Charlottesville, VA, and South Bend, IN. We are committed to maintaining clinics in challenging places where access to quality abortion care is under attack. For more information: www.wholewomanshealthalliance.org