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Attempt to Expand Abortions Locally Halted For Now

(Indianapolis, IN) - An effort by the area’s only abortion clinic to expand its services has stalled. Whole Women’s Health has petitioned the state for a license to perform surgical abortions at its location in South Bend.


The clinic currently provides the abortion pill in the first trimester. Recently, the Indiana Department of Health denied, for now, an application to perform surgical abortions, citing a complaint about how the clinic’s records are kept. According to the Health Department, discrepancies were found in the clinic's terminated pregnancy reports (TPRs) from November and December of last year.


Jake Teshka is the state representative for Indiana’s 7th District, near the abortion clinic. As a legislative liaison to the Health Department, Teshka told HTNN that he’s been hounding state officials about the handling of the clinic’s operations. "Especially this last month or so, I've been working with Right to Life Michiana to make sure that we've got the information that's supposed to be out there and isn't, or hasn't been," he said. Teshka wants to make sure there is accuracy and transparency in the clinic's reporting. "It's a little frustrating," he said, "that, as an elected official, I can't get the answers that I'd like in a timely manner regarding this facility."


When asked for comment on the abortion clinic's current status, The Department of Health issued this response:


“The license to perform surgical abortions has not been denied. IDOH received a complaint regarding this facility. The surgical abortion license has not been issued at this time, pending the investigation and resolution of the complaint.”


Since 2019, Whole Women's Health had been offering pill-only abortions under a provisional license, pending federal litigation. In December, 50 state lawmakers wrote a letter to Governor Eric Holcomb objecting to the possibility of the clinic receiving a full license. Holcomb granted the license anyway.


During a recent visit to La Porte, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said the issue is out of his hands at this point. "The governor really needs to watch his Department of Health," he said. "[They] really need to follow up and inspect closely, and we've been wondering whether they've been inspecting closely enough."


No timeline has been given for the current investigation. Representative Teshka said he has not heard how long the process may take.

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