Local Abortion Threat: Situation Overview and Timeline

04/22/19 - Injunction hearing conducted by Judge Sarah Evans Barker

03/27/19 - WWHA files request for an emergency injunction to open without a license to a Federal Court

02/25/19 - ISDH requests more information from WWHA

01/01/19 - WWHA submits second application for chemical abortion license

11/28/18 - Appeals panel reverses Judge Deitchman's recommended ruling

10/02/18 - ISDH appeals recommended order

09/15/18 - Judge Deitchman recommends WWHA be granted a licence 

08/22/18 - Appeal hearing conducted by Judge Claire Deitchman

01/24/18 - WWHA appeals denial of license 

01/10/18 - ISDH denies WWHA application

10/12/17 - WWHA submits application for chemical abortion license

February 2019 - WWHA Sues Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops

The United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) in its lawsuit that demanded the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops release sensitive internal communication. 

In 2016, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance sued the state of Texas for a law requiring the dignified disposal of fetal remains from abortions. The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops offered to cover all costs associated with burial or cremation of aborted fetuses in order to remove of the burden of cost from women. In retaliation, WWHA requested the Bishops be subpoenaed for all communication, including internal communications between bishops, regarding abortion.

 The Bishops provided over 4,000 pages of external communication but refused to provide sensitive internal communication between Bishops. The Bishops filed an emergency appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting the subpoena be struck down. The Bishops were granted permanent protection in August of 2018. WWHA appealed this decision, and their petition was denied on Tuesday by the Supreme Court.  The decision of protection of the lower courts still stands.

 “WWHA lawsuit against the state of Texas represents an egregious disregard for human value,” Right to Life Executive Director Jackie Appleman says. “WWHA’s disrespect for basic human dignity underscores their disreputable and irresponsible character. In addition, WWHA's retaliation against Texas Bishops for attempting to lighten an "undue burden", shows an intolerance for deeply held religious beliefs and ministry to women. It is unfortunate that WWHA has now resorted to attacking the Catholic Church and religious freedom.”

January 10th, 2019 - WWH Inspection Reports Indicate Violations

(South Bend, IN)- Texas Health and Human Services Commission completed health inspections of Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) of San Antonio on October 16, 2018 and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) in Austin, Texas on October 15, 2018. Both reports found multiple violations of health and safety regulations.

WWH of San Antonio failed to ensure that “policies on decontamination, disinfection, and sterilization, and storage of sterile supplies were implemented” by failing to document autoclave logs. Such negligence makes it impossible to confirm whether loads and instruments were properly sterilized thereby putting patient safety at risk.

The WWHA and WWH reports indicated similar violations of documentation of narcotic drugs. It describes unexplained discrepancies between the actual closing count and anticipated closing count of narcotic drugs in a random sample of drugs. Discrepancies can indicate “missing drugs or careless handling” and pave the way for errors in administering medication.

Both abortion clinics also received violations regarding patient safety. Both reports state: “The licensee failed to provide a patient with the name and telephone number of the nearest hospital to the home of the pregnant woman at which an emergency arising from the abortion would be treated.” This failure puts a woman’s health, and even life, at risk if she experiences complications from an abortion procedure.

WWHA has repeatedly denied any affiliation between WWHA and WWH, LLC. The similarity of these two inspection reports suggests that WWHA and WWH, LLC clinics follow similar procedures and are prone to similar violations. Shortly after receiving the Health and Safety report with numerous violations, WWH of San Antonio closed its doors.

In addition to these violations, WWHA of Austin also “failed to ensure a safe and sanitary environment” by neglecting to repair a water leak. According to the report, the continued leak “presents the risk for bacteria growth and contamination.”

WWHA has reapplied for an abortion license in Indiana. Reapplying will not change the poor results of these inspections. These results prove WWHA is not of reputable and responsible character and, on that basis, the Indiana State Department should deny them a license. A failure to do so will put the health and safety of Indiana women at risk.

St. Joseph County Right to Life, Inc. is dedicated to the social welfare by promoting life through outreach, education and advocacy. It is the oldest, continuously active pro-life organization in St. Joseph County, and is the central organization representing pro-life interests. Its goal is to protect all human life – from fertilization to natural death.

November 28th, 2018 - Appeals Panel Hears ISDH Appeal of Judge's Recommended Order

Earlier today, the most recent hearing in an ongoing licensing dispute between Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) took place. A three-member panel presided at the hearing, with an immediate decision being the mandatory outcome of the proceedings.

 

The panel decided in favor of the ISDH, ruling that its denial of a license to operate an abortion clinic was just.

 

Jackie Appleman, Executive Director at St. Joseph County Right to Life issued the following statement in response to the hearing’s outcome: “The decision of today’s panel is a victory for the women and families of Michiana. Abortion is not wanted or needed in South Bend, and we are pleased to see that the panel upheld the ISDH’s initial denial. WWHA’s character and failure to disclose information about related clinics, which was the basis of their license denial, is a threat to our community and we applaud the panel for recognizing that. The women of our community can get all the support they need without the life-ending option of the abortions that would have been offered at this clinic. This decision affirms our conviction that all life in our community should be lived and loved.”

 

St. Joseph County Right to Life will continue to work tirelessly to advocate for life in our community, spreading truth and knowledge about the positive alternatives to abortion and educating on the harmful effects abortion has on women, the unborn, families, and the community.

October 2nd, 2018 - ISDH Appeals Judge Deitchman's Recommended Order

On October 2nd, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) released the following statement: "The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has filed notice of its intent to appeal an administrative law judge’s recommended order regarding the agency’s denial of a license for Whole Woman’s Health to operate an abortion clinic in South Bend. A three-member appeals panel, which will consist of two members of the ISDH Executive Board and an administrative law judge, will hear the matter in accordance with IC 16-21-4-2. An official notice will be posted when the board is scheduled to meet." The board is set to meet on November 28th in Indianapolis.

Jackie Appleman, Executive Director of St. Joseph County Right to Life, commented on the appeal notice with the following statement: “St. Joseph County Right to Life is pleased that the ISDH will continue to stand by their findings. Our community has shown that women in South Bend don't need abortion. Those facing unplanned or difficult pregnancies can get all the help they need to provide for their unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs without WWHA."

Indiana Right to Life’s President and CEO, Mike Fichter, stated: “We applaud the state of Indiana for continuing the legal effort to prevent an abortion business from opening in South Bend. We encourage the state to vigorously defend its denial of the license. Activist courts should not be overriding the state’s right to make licensing decisions.”

We will keep our membership posted with specific information as we receive it. For now, give thanks for this small victory and continue to pray and advocate for a life-affirming outcome in the end. The fight is not over!

August 22nd, 2018 - Judge Detichman Hears WWHA Appeal of Licence Denial

On August 22nd and 23rd, 2018, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and abortion company Whole Woman's Health (WWH) progressed through a hearing brought on by WWH's appeal against the ISDH's denial of WWH's abortion license application. Clare Deitchman, the judge of the hearing, said the ISDH must prove its denial was an appropriate response.

 

The hearing included two noteworthy discussions. First was the affiliation between Whole Woman's Health Alliance (WWHA, a non-profit) and Whole Woman's Health, LLC (WWH, LLC, a for-profit). One main issue with WWH's license application was that they failed to list affiliated clinics. By suggesting that this WWHA clinic has no affiliation with WWH, LLC, the abortion providers were able to leave several WWH, LLC clinics off of their application. Several of these WWH, LLC clinics were previously cited and fined for health violations.

 

Countering WWHA's own claim of non-affiliation, a board member of WWHA brought up a second noteworthy piece of the hearing when she mentioned that WWHA chose WWH, LLC to "manage their business" because it was "the cheapest option." This first points to a definite affiliation between the supposed two organizations, and furthermore demonstrates the true item of import to WWHA and WWH, LLC: money.

 

Following the hearing, Judge Deitchman will determine a recommended order within the next 30 days, which either the ISDH or WWH can appeal within 30 days of the decision. What is clear from the hearing so far is that WWH, LLC and WWHA are purposely concealing information about clinics with a history of violations, as well as trying to find solutions that will make for cheap business. It is St. Joseph County Right to Life's firm belief that the women of South Bend deserve better than cheap care and risks to their health.

January 24th, 2018 - WWHA Appeals Denial of Licence 

On January 24th, a local news outlet reported that Whole Woman's Health (WWH) made their expected appeal to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) following the ISDH's Notice of License Application Denial.


The appeal will go to an administrative judge who will conduct a review. As the appeal moves forward, a judge is chosen, and the review is conducted, St. Joseph County Right to Life plans to monitor the situation and update the community with any current information.


St. Joseph County Right to Life believes that the ISDH will aim to staunchly defend the denial issuance. This license application and its subsequent denial is the first major controversial issue that Cristina Box, the Indiana State Health Commissioner, has dealt with since she was appointed in September. The ISDH and the Commissioner took nearly five months to gather additional documentation from WWH and to fully scrutinize the organization's past violations and health records before issuing their denial.

January 10th, 2018 - ISDH Denies WWHA Application for Abortion Clinic Licence

On Wednesday, January 10, 2018, St. Joseph County Right to Life received news that the Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) issued Whole Woman's Health Alliance (WWHA) a Notice of License Application Denial. You can read the notice here.


Despite the Department's request for a listing of all facilities in operation under "WWHA, its parent, affiliate, and subsidiary organizations, WWH failed to disclose, concealed, or omitted information related to additional clinics." The Commissioner similarly found that WWH failed to "meet the requirement that the Applicant is of reputable and responsible character and that the supporting documentation provided inaccurate statements or information."


The notice contained a reminder that anyone who operates or advertises the operation of an unlicensed abortion clinic in the state of Indiana commits a Class A misdemeanor.


Although WWH is temporarily unable to legally operate a clinic, the notice gave WWH an opportunity to petition for administrative review by Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

 

In response to Whole Woman's Health's attempt to open up an abortion practice in South Bend, St. Joseph County Right to Life and its affiliates are executing a fierce strategic plan to stop the clinic from opening, if possible, while preparing to limit abortion's sting on our community's women and children if a new clinic does become a reality.

October 12th, 2017 - WWHA Submits Application for Chemical Abortion License

On October 12, 2017, Indiana Right to Life and St. Joseph County Right to Life broke the news that a new abortion facility has applied for a license to operate in South Bend.

 

The abortion chain, Whole Woman's Health (WWH), headquartered in Texas, has acquired space on Lincoln Way West, in which it hopes to open and operate its ninth abortion clinic across the nation. The organization is currently renovating this space while its license application is under review by the Indiana State Department of Health. 

 

If WWH's license application were to be approved, this would be the first active abortion clinic in north-central Indiana since Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, the abortion doctor whose medical license was suspended for health and safety violations, ceased doing abortions in South Bend in November of 2015.

 

The prospect of opening an abortion facility in South Bend is part of Whole Woman's Health CEO, Amy Hagstrom Miller's, plan to open facilities in states that are considered politically "hostile" to abortion, in order to launch a nationwide initiative that she hopes will combat a so-called abortion stigma. 

 

The organization lists Dr. Jeffrey D. Glazer, MD as its medical director. Dr. Glazer has licenses from the States of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky and has performed abortions nearby at Planned Parenthood-Merrillville Health Center in addition to other facilities across the midwest.

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©2018 St. Joseph County Right to Life, Inc.