INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana State Department of Health appeals panel voted 2-1 on Wednesday to reverse a judge’s “recommended order” that called for granting a license for a Texas-based nonprofit to open an abortion clinic in South Bend.
The panel — composed of an administrative law judge and two members of the state’s executive health board who were appointed by the department — sided against Whole Woman's Health Alliance after about an hour of closed-door deliberations at the Indianapolis hearing.
The panel reversed an order in the nonprofit’s favor that was made in September by Clare Deitchman, an Indianapolis administrative law judge. The judge presided over a two-day hearing in August. That hearing was prompted by the nonprofit’s appeal of the health department’s decision in January to reject its license application.
After Wednesday’s hearing, the nonprofit’s lead counsel, Dipti Singh, said the panel’s decision was “extremely disappointing” and wasn’t based on “substantial and reliable” evidence.
She said the nonprofit will consider its legal options after the panel releases a “final order” explaining its decision.
The nonprofit could decide to appeal the decision by seeking a judicial review in court. If that happens, the case would be randomly assigned to a judge in Marion County.
The nonprofit “is extremely committed to providing the care the community needs,” Singh said, adding that the department is “depriving the community of medical care.”