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Petition urges mayor to veto pro-life center approval

“We’re really thankful. We think that this is best for the women on the west side and the women of the city,” said Grace Carroll, a Graduate student at Notre Dame and volunteer at Women’s Care Center.

Carroll shared the same reaction as hundreds of others in Monday night’s common council meeting after the council voted 5 to 4, majority in favor of allowing a Women’s Care Center to move into the property right next to a proposed abortion clinic on Lincoln way west.

Tuesday’s reaction from those who live in that area, a little different.

“We don’t want to have either,” said one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous.

On the other end, pro-choice advocates are fighting back. In a statement written to ABC 57, local pro-choice advocates say:

“Pro Choice South Bend has been working on this issue since we first heard the Women’s Care Centers purchased the property adjacent to the Whole Woman’s Health clinic at the beginning of the year. Women’s Care Centers are crisis pregnancy centers that counsel pregnant people out of having an abortion. While they advertise themselves as providing abortion information, they do not provide referrals to abortion clinics. The information they do provide on abortion care is not regulated or required to be accurate.

From the start, we recognized that having a crisis pregnancy center next door would promote an area of conflict and confusion for patients.

In the cities Women’s Care Centers operates, if there is an abortion clinic, they [are] within a short walk. Abortion clinics next to Women’s Care Centers have a tendency to close, we saw it here in Niles in 2012 and in South Bend in 2016. When the Women’s Care Centers were in the property in front of the Women’s Pavilion they did nothing to stop the near constant harassment of abortion patients trying to access healthcare. It is impossible for our community to trust that an organization that wants to end abortion will be a good neighbor to an abortion clinic.

The people of South Bend deserve access to quality comprehensive reproductive healthcare free from stigma, shame, and harassment. Pro Choice South Bend along with Indivisible Indiana District 2 and Irish 4 Repro Health are urging our Mayor to veto 05-18 and protect abortion access in South Bend.”

A petition is being circulated urging South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to veto the common council's vote to approve the Women's Care Center right next to the proposed abortion clinic.

ABC 57 reached out to Women’s Care Center advocates who say they’re excited about Monday night’s approval and they’re currently busy at work getting ready for the construction of the site.

Several neighbors and businesses in the area of Lincoln way west all had different opinions on the matter, and most didn’t want to go on camera. But one neighbor tells ABC 57 they wish this was never an issue to begin with.

“Probably the neighbors around here would prefer that neither one of them come here. But if one of them is going to be here I think the other one has every right to be here also,” said the neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous.

She says, in this case, less is more when it comes to the families in this neighborhood.

“It doesn’t really make sense to me. I wish they would have submitted a letter when the abortion clinic wanted to come and avoided the whole thing in this area. I mean it is a residential area here so,” she said.

We still have no word from the mayor’s office about his take on the situation. Stick with ABC 57 News for this developing story.

To view the petition, click here.

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