Indiana ALJ to hear appeal for proposed abortion clinic

A federal judge will hold a two-day hearing this week on a Texas-based group’s appeal of Indiana officials’ rejection of its application to open an abortion clinic in South Bend.

Indianapolis Administrative Law Judge Clare Deitchman will determine Wednesday and Thursday whether to grant Whole Woman’s Health Alliance’s appeal after the state Department of Health denied the group’s application for an abortion clinic license in January, the South Bend Tribune reported.

The nonprofit is challenging the Health Department’s conclusion that it failed to meet requirements of having “reputable and responsible character” and didn’t disclose necessary information on its application.

A sign reading “Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend” is already at the proposed site. Nonprofit spokeswoman Fatimah Gifford said the “sign was always set to go up” because of “anticipation of being able to open in South Bend.”

“It wasn’t because there was traction on the appeal,” Gifford said, “but just because we have continued to move forward with infrastructure and building changes.”

If the appeal is granted, the group would open the clinic to offer medication-induced abortions to women up to 10 weeks pregnant. The building is already retrofitted by workers and has the equipment and furniture necessary to open.

If the appeal sees an objection, it would be decided on by a three-member panel appointed by the Health Department. Gifford said founder Amy Hagstrom Miller will testify at the hearing.

The nonprofit was among three plaintiffs that filed a civil lawsuit in June challenging dozens of Indiana’s abortion restrictions.

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