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Indiana abortion law to take effect Aug 1: South Bend abortion center ceases chemical abortions in advance Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

Indiana abortion law to take effect Aug 1: South Bend abortion center ceases chemical abortions in advance

Earlier this summer, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld a new state law banning abortion with exceptions, and an abortion facility in South Bend stopped providing abortion pills.

The beginning and end of an abortion center

Known as Whole Women’s Health (WWH) of South Bend, the abortion business opened in 2019, and in early June of 2023, the facility ceased offering abortions. In a press release issued by Whole Women’s Health Alliance, president Amy Hagstrom Miller appeared to brag about the number of unborn lives taken by the abortion center since opening when she stated, “…we were still able to serve over 1,100 patients for medication abortion care in our small but mighty South Bend clinic.”

According to the Associated Press (AP), WWH was one of seven abortion facilities in Indiana and upon ceasing to provide abortion pills directly, the center planned to offer “telehealth services,” including referrals to the remaining Indiana abortion centers and out-of-state facilities. 

The organization provides “remote medication abortion services” in five states (Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Virginia), the AP also reported.

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New abortion law set to go into effect

A few weeks after WWH stopped dispensing chemical abortion pills, Indiana’s Supreme Court upheld a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in 2022 to ban abortion in the state with certain exceptions. 

After Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill into law, abortion advocates, including WWH and Planned Parenthood, filed a lawsuit. A county judge declared the new law unconstitutional. The case was taken to the state Supreme Court in which a unanimous decision overturned the county judge’s decision in June, according to an Associated Press report. The 2022 law will likely “eliminate the licenses for all seven abortion clinics in the state,” the AP article states. According to WFYI – Indianapolis, the new abortion law takes effect August 1.

Exceptions are permitted for rape, incest, life of the mother, or if the fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. According to the Indy Star, “For instances of rape or incest, abortion will be allowed up to ten weeks. Fetal anomaly abortions are permitted up to 20 weeks. Abortions had been available up until 22 weeks prior to the ban.”

Abortion pills common and dangerous

Chemical abortion is the most common type of abortion, now making up more than 50 percent of U.S. abortions. 

It is also dangerous, said Christa Brown, senior director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International.

“The abortion pill has four times the complications as surgical abortion and is a profit-driven commodity of the abortion industry,” she said. “Often dispensed by non-licensed personnel, this type of abortion requires no surgical suite, no sterilization of medical instruments, less medical staffing, and very little time per patient.”

Indiana’s abortion history

Brown is familiar with the northern Indiana area and Whole Women’s Health.

“The tragedy of abortion has a long history in South Bend,” she said. “Prior to Whole Women's Health, abortion in South Bend was performed in a facility owned by Dr. Ulrich Klopfer.” 

“When his South Bend clinic closed in 2015, authorities found thousands of confidential patient records left behind,” Brown explained. “An even more horrific discovery was that thousands of fetal remains from abortions performed in 2000, 2001 and 2002 in Indiana were found in the garage of Klopfer’s home in Will County, Ill.”

She added, “More than 1,100 Indiana children have lost their lives at Whole Women's Health in South Bend since it opened. Those who value life in Indiana celebrate that no more women or children can be harmed by this abortion facility.”

When nearby states, such as Kentucky and Tennessee, implemented abortion restrictions, abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood saw hundreds of out-of-state women walk through their doors. 

According to a recent article published in the Indy Star, “In total, 1,827 out-of-state patients visited Indiana for abortions last year. According to its news release, Planned Parenthood clinics administered double the amount of medication abortions to non-Indiana residents this year, and 160% more surgical abortions to out-of-state patients.”

Wanted or not?

When announcing WWH’s ending abortion pill dispensing, the organization issued a press release, which said, in part, “… we were asked by this community to open a clinic that could meet people’s need for compassionate high-quality abortion care. Over the years we have worked with community allies, local officials, and legal counsel to ensure that we could provide the care that our patients deserved.”

“Facilities such as Whole Women's Health that use medical techniques to end the lives of preborn children often label their work as ‘healthcare.’ But the act of aborting a living child does not constitute any type of healthcare,” Heartbeat’s Brown told Pregnancy Help News.

“Abortion is not a healthy choice for women, children or families,” she added. 

Learning in June that WWH would no longer take unborn lives through chemical abortion, president of Voices for Life, a South Bend pro-life organization, Melanie Lyon said, “I felt like both crying with tears of joy and tears of grief for all the lives that have been lost here.”

Help is available for women experiencing unplanned pregnancy in the South Bend area or other regions of Indiana through pregnancy help centers and pregnancy medical clinics, Brown said.

“Information, support and medical care is available in the South Bend community for anyone experiencing an unexpected pregnancy who is considering their pregnancy options,” she said.

Tweet This: Help is available for women facing unplanned pregnancy in South Bend or other Indiana regions via pregnancy help centers and medical clinics

Women seeking pregnancy help services in Indiana and across the country are encouraged to contact Option Line, available 24/7 at 1-800-712-HELP.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.

Gayle Irwin

Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer living in Wyoming. She’s been recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc. and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She’s contributed short stories to eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books and crafts dog books with inspiring messages for children. For nearly 13 years, Gayle worked as Patient Resources Director at True Care Women’s Resource Center, a pro-life pregnancy medical resource center in Casper, Wyoming. In addition to her children’s stories, she authors devotions and a series of sweet, inspirational romance books that weave pet rescue and adoption into the story. She considers herself a human and pet life advocate and finds creativity and connection in God’s creation. Learn more about Gayle on her website: gaylemirwin.com.

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