SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Indiana Attorney General, Todd Rokita, slammed Governor Holcomb’s response to 50 Indiana lawmakers regarding the licensing of a South Bend abortion clinic. In the three page letter, Rokita laments the governor’s actions while calling out multiple lies from the governor’s office.
“Governor Holcomb inaccurately indicated that the Office of Attorney General advised the Indiana Department of Health (“IDOH”) to grant Whole Woman’s Health a ‘full’ license for its South Bend abortion clinic.” The letter reads.
In December, 50 legislatures sent the governor a letter demanding answers to several questions regarding inspections and licensing of the embattled clinic.
“For over two years, this clinic operates outside of regular and necessary IDOH inspections. As long as this clinic operates under a court order, it should be reviewed and inspected under the same laws and regulations as all other state clinics of this nature so they are not able to operate with certain measures of impunity. We request an immediate change to remedy this situation in order to correct this egregious error and prevent the recurrence of such oversights in the future.” A letter, dated on December 30th, 2021, stated.
Holcomb responded nearly a month later, where he announced he had decided to give the clinic a full-license.
“As you mention in your letter, licensure of the Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend (WWHSB) clinic remains the subject of extensive litigation in federal court, an actions taken by the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) with respect to provisional license issuance were the result of court order. Even while operating under a provisional license, however, a clinic is subject to IDOH survey activity upon the agency’s receipt of a compliant, and IDOH completed surveys of this clinic when violations were reported. Further, in consultation with, and at the direction of, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, IDOH’s counsel in this matter, a full license for WWHSB was recently issued. As a result, this entity will be subject to the standard annual survey process going forward.” The Governor wrote.
Whole Woman’s Health was refused a license to operate in Indiana in 2018. A federal court intervened and ordered the state issue a provisional license for the clinic to operate until litigation was completed. A federal judge ruled in favor of WWH on several issues last summer, however, the case is now on appeal and the Seventh Circuit court is holding off on issuing judgements on other issues until the Supreme Court issues its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
In the December letter, lawmakers also cited several other concerns about abortion clinics throughout the state of Indiana, including transparency and reporting. Rokita lambasted Holcomb’s responses to those inquiries as well.
“In your letter, you also asked the governor to report on other issues and questions that you had. I found those answers wanting given his agency’s knowledge of the case and the industry. First, when you questioned why the records do not indicate when abortions on underage girls are performed, the governor merely responded without explanation that there is ‘a reconciliation process between the Indiana Department of Children Service (DCS) and IDOH’ for the purpose of monitoring compliance with the requirement. This response leaves more questions that answers and is not responsive.” Rokita’s letter reads.
“Second, you questions why the state and county of mother’s residence is redacted from the Terminated Pregnancy Reports. The governor answered that the redactions maintain confidentiality. However, this information is not proprietary but imperative to determine whether underage girls travel to Indiana for the procedure. Previously, this information on the Terminated Pregnancy Reports was not redacted so we find no legal reason to redact it now.”
“Third, the governor ignored your question concerning unresolved abortion cases and failed to provide an update on the status of those cases.”
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