SOUTH BEND — The same federal judge who ruled that an abortion clinic can open in South Bend has denied an attempt by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to bar that from happening.

Late last month, federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled that the planned Whole Woman's Health Clinic in South Bend could open without the state-required license, pending a final ruling in the case in 2020.

But Hill’s office responded by appealing that ruling to a higher court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and moving to delay the opening of the clinic until the appeal had been heard.

Evans Barker decided Friday to deny Hill’s request, allowing the clinic to begin offering medication-induced abortions for women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant.

But Hill’s office filed a new motion in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday to bar the clinic from opening, setting up yet another decision on whether or not the clinic can open.

“This ruling turns the right to abortion into a cudgel against state licensing laws that the Supreme Court long ago declared to be perfectly valid,” Hill said in a statement.

Sharon Lau, Midwest advocacy director for Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said there isn’t a specific date yet for when the clinic will open but the organization is working “expeditiously to open as soon as possible.”

The clinic in South Bend will be the seventh abortion clinic in Indiana, with three others in Indianapolis, one in Bloomington, one in Lafayette and one in Merrillville.
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