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Ind. Clinic Suspends Abortion Services in Settlement With State

George Klopfer, owner of an abortion clinic in South Bend, Ind., has withdrawn his appeal over a clinic licensure dispute as part of a settlement with the state, the South Bend Tribune reports (Gray, South Bend Tribune, 11/5).

Background

The Indiana State Department of Health in January filed a complaint to revoke a clinic license from Women's Pavilion after it failed an inspection and the state rejected its correction plan. The Women's Pavilion is the only abortion clinic in northern Indiana.

The health department inspected the Women's Pavilion clinic in October 2014 and cited the facility for not complying with several state regulations. The clinic was required to submit a plan for correction within 10 days. The clinic submitted a plan, but the health department said it was not acceptable and sent a letter of noncompliance.

In June, ISDH sent a letter to Klopfer notifying him that the clinic's application for license renewal had been denied, based on a recommendation from the Abortion Clinic Licensing Program.

Later that month, Klopfer and the Women's Pavilion staff appealed the decision. Ken Severson, a spokesperson for ISDH, said an administrative law judge would consider the appeal in November and the clinic would be legally allowed to operate until the hearing. Two previous complaints to revoke the clinic's license filed by ISDH also were scheduled for this month (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/22).

Settlement Details

According to the Tribune, the state under the settlement agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice. The settlement canceled what would have been a three-day hearing in the lawsuit, which had been scheduled to begin on Nov. 4.

Further, the settlement prohibits Klopfer or "any affiliates with the Women's Pavilion" from filing an application for a clinic license for a 90-day period. According to the Tribune, it is unknown whether Klopfer will file for a new license after the 90-day period elapses. Meanwhile, the Tribune reports that Klopfer's medical licenses, which are under a separate review, remain valid.

Women's Pavilion will cease providing abortions on Friday. Two other clinics that Klopfer operated in the state -- in Gary and Fort Wayne -- also shuttered within the past two years. The Tribune reports that the nearest clinics to South Bend now are located in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Merrillville, Ind., as well as Kalamazoo, Mich. (South Bend Tribune, 11/5).