Nonprofit launches ad campaign amid abortion clinic appeal

A Texas-based nonprofit has put up several ads in northern Indiana in response to efforts opposing its proposed abortion clinic.

The Whole Woman’s Health Alliance advertising campaign comes after it appealed a decision by the Indiana State Health Department to deny an application for a South Bend clinic, the South Bend Tribune reported.

The digital billboard located on Indiana 23 states “Women in South Bend need abortion care without shame or stigma.” The campaign also includes radio and online ads.

In a letter dated Jan. 3, the state said it found “inaccuracies” in the abortion provider’s paperwork submitted in October and that the nonprofit had failed to meet a requirement that it has “reputable and responsible character.”

Women’s Health Alliance filed an appeal on Jan. 22. If it’s successful, a clinic would open on the city’s west side and offer medication-induced abortions to women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant.

Department spokeswoman Jeni O’Malley said a hearing for the appeal hasn’t yet been scheduled. That is because a review process needs to be completed first. The review gives the department and the nonprofit the chance to request information from each other.

“There’s no way to predict a timetable for any phase of the process,” O’Malley said.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said she thinks there was a misunderstanding that caused the department to reject the application for the clinic. She said she’s optimistic the appeal will be successful.

“If you ask me what I think is reasonable, it would have been to get a license when we applied for it,” Hagstrom Miller said.

St. Joseph Right to Life, which opposes abortion, launched its own campaign in December to oppose the clinic and rally the public against it. The campaign included billboards, online and radio ads and yard signs.

Hagstrom Miller said the Whole Woman’s Health Alliance wants “to shift the shame and stigma around abortion.”

“We feel that a culture shift can be done really well through education in the community,” she said.