The Indiana State Department of Health administrative hearing to decide if the non-profit Whole Woman’s Health Alliance will receive a license to perform abortions in South Bend begins tomorrow in Indianapolis.
Founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Amy Hagstrom-Miller says it’s still unclear what information the State Health Department was not given when the organization was denied their initial license request in January.
The provider applied for a license to open an abortion clinic last August. But the Indiana State Department of Health denied the request in January, citing in a letter “failure to disclose information about its clinics.” The letter did not state what information was left out.
“It feels like a delay tactic and it feels kind of rooted in over regulation and politics, etc,” Hagestrom-Miller said, “So we’re hoping that we can continue to be transparent, be authentic, continue to tell the story of why we want to do the work that we’re doing and why we feel we should be given the opportunity to do so in South Bend.”
Hagstrom Miller says Woman’s Health has answered all requests by the State Health Department, and were in contact with the department throughout the application process. She says they were shocked when they were denied the license.
“I think they’re asserting we left things out, but they haven’t told us what those things are,” she said.
Whole Woman's Health was the plaintiff in a supreme court case from 2015 that found a Texas law was an unconstitutional undue burden on access to abortion. The law required clinics that provide surgical abortions to have facilities comparable to ambulatory surgical centers, and for physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles away.
In June, the Whole Woman’s Health was one of three plaintiffs that filed a civil lawsuit against dozens of Indiana’s abortion restrictions.
The hearing will take place Wednesday and Thursday, after which an administrative law judge will make a recommendation to the Indiana State Department of Health regarding the organization’s license. If allowed to move forward, this will be the third Whole Women’s Health Alliance Clinic providing abortion in the country.