November 8, 2017 // Local

Groups mobilize to fight licensure of abortion facility

SOUTH BEND — The Apostolate of Divine Mercy, South Bend, and St. Joseph County Right to Life are among the organizations that have mobilized to prevent an Austin, Texas, entity from opening a facility in South Bend that will provide abortions.

Whole Woman’s Health, which operates eight such clinics in four states, reportedly filed an application for a license for operation with the state of Indiana in October. Approval is still pending. St. Joseph County and the surrounding area have been without an abortion provider since Dr. Ulrich Klopfer had his medical license suspended two years ago for health and safety violations.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and Indiana Sen. Joe Zakas have issued statements urging denial of the license. Antonio Marchi, program director of St. Joseph County Right to Life, is also engaged in the fight.

“The mere prospect of a new abortion facility pushing its way into our community and victimizing our women and children is a tragedy,” Marchi said. “Even so, this is a threat that we have been preparing for since the Women’s Pavilion stopped performing abortions in November of 2015. Our team is executing a fierce strategy to keep this abortion chain out of our county and minimize the impact on innocent human life if a new abortion facility does become a reality.”

“It is deeply concerning to see an out-of-state chain trying to come into South Bend that has demonstrated a complete disregard for the health and safety of the women it claims to serve,” noted Tom Gill, president of St. Joseph County Right to Life, referring to news of health and safety violations by the Texas facilities operated by Whole Woman’s Health. “The last abortion facility here lost its license for similar violations of the Indiana State Department of Health codes. We certainly hope that this will raise a red flag for everyone in this community and that people here will continue to speak out against this unneeded abortion center.”

The Apostolate of Divine Mercy in Service of Life, Marriage, and the Family, with its entourage of pro-life ministries at The Life Center in South Bend, is witnessing in the streets and going door to door to bring awareness to the issue. “We definitely need more witnesses and advocates,” said Ellen Master, director of the TLC advocates.

TLC’s lead counsel, Shawn Sullivan, has also sent the group’s legal position for denying the application to the Indiana State Department of Health. 

Simultaneously with the legal mandate, the Apostolate also kicked off a perpetual adoration novena. 

“We believe that the legal position, campaign, and novena, coupled with the fabulous work of St. Joseph County Right to Life and other groups mounting petitions and letters to representatives, will cause the application to be denied,” said Sullivan.

There are several avenues to voice opposition to the South Bend facility. Prayer and fasting are encouraged, as is contacting state representatives or the Apostolate of Divine Mercy at 574-286-7860 or

St. Joseph County Right to Life has created a media campaign to stir up support across the county: It includes billboards, radio ads, digital banner ads, social media ads and yard signs. To find out more, or to participate, visit .

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