ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. — In November 2015, abortion in St. Joseph County ended.
With its doctor’s license revoked by the state, the South Bend Women’s Pavilion ceased operations and shuttered its doors for good the following spring. The clinic had operated for almost 40 years. The on-site abortionist, Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer, was later found to have stored the remains of more than 2,200 fetuses in his Illinois home. The discovery was made by Klopfer’s family upon his death.
For three and a half years, the county did not have an abortion provider. Women interested in obtaining abortions had to instead travel to Chicago or Merrillville, Ind.
That all changed in the summer of 2019, when abortion returned to the county, thanks in part to the efforts of Dr. Michelle Migliore.
Migliore works at the Mishawaka health clinic for city employees and is also a board member for the St. Joseph County Department of Health. Recently discovered paperwork shows that Migliore signed an emergency services agreement that allowed abortionist Dr. Jeffrey Glazer to circumvent the rule that requires a doctor to be part of a local health system in order to perform abortions in the county. You can view the document below.
The agreement, signed in December of 2018, said Migliore agreed “to accept referrals from Dr. Jeffrey Glazer for patients who may require evaluation, treatment or follow up care from any complications from services provided at Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend.”
Whole Woman’s Health opened in South Bend on Lincoln Way West the following summer. The clinic provides abortion pills up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. The pill is $635. A first consultation visit, required in Indiana, is an additional $200.
While the clinic did not open until the summer of 2019, it originally sought a license from the Indiana State Department of Health to operate in 2017 and was rejected. A federal judge, Sarah Evans Barker, eventually allowed the clinic to open regardless.
Members of the community also pushed back on the clinic opening, including several doctors who worried patients from Whole Woman’s Health could “burden the medical community,” according to a South Bend Tribune article.
Glazer was the only abortionist on site when the clinic opened. Other abortionists started in August 2019. Glazer last worked at the facility in March 2021.
Migliore was appointed to the county health board by Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood, about a year after she signed Glazer’s emergency services agreement. Her four-year term is schedule to expire at the end of 2023. It is unclear whether Migliore disclosed her agreement with Glazer to Wood or to anyone associated with her employer, Activate Health and Wellness Center. Mayor Wood could not be reached for comment.
According to minutes from her first health department meeting in 2020, Migliore is medical director at the Activate Health and Wellness Center, where she offers primary care services to employees and spouses who are covered under the Mishawaka City Health Plan. She has a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Des Moines and has worked in the Michiana area for more than 20 years.
While on the county health board, Migliore voted with all of her colleagues on a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis. Black children in the county are disproportionately affected by abortion. Between June 2019 and January 2021, 116 black children lost their lives at Whole Woman’s Health. This accounts for 22 percent of abortions at the clinic. Blacks make up 13 percent of the county population.
In an alumni newsletter from Manchester University, Migliore described her medical career this way: “It’s what I was meant to do. It was my calling. Taking care of people and being such an intimate part of their lives from birth until their last breath,” she says, “has been an incredible privilege and honor.”
Migliore did not respond to requests for comments for this story.