Anti-abortion group seeks facility next to abortion clinic

April 10, 2018

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A city council in northern Indiana has postponed a vote on whether an anti-abortion prenatal care group can open a new location next to a proposed abortion clinic.

The South Bend Common Council voted Monday to table the issue until April 23.

The Women’s Care Center gives pregnant women a variety of prenatal care, including counseling against abortions. The nonprofit asked the council to rezone a house it hopes to purchase.

The building is located next to where Whole Woman’s Health Alliance hopes to provide non-surgical abortions to women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant. The state Department of Health denied the alliance’s application for an abortion clinic license, but the Texas-based group is appealing the decision.

The Women’s Care Center is prepared to spend more than $500,000 renovating and expanding the house. The money would come from a donor who requires the center be located next to the proposed clinic, said Richard Nussbaum, the center’s attorney.

Women’s Care Center officials said they would prohibit protesters from the property, though some council members said protesters could still gather on the sidewalk or city right-of-way in front of the property.

“I’m not sure anyone has ever made a commitment to this council to waive their First Amendment rights,” Nussbaum said. “We are a nonjudgmental and loving organization and the evidence proves that.”

More than 20 of the center’s facilities are situated near an abortion clinic, Nussbaum said. He said center officials are seeking the location near the proposed clinic because they want the center to be highly visible to women in crisis pregnancies.

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