Planned Parenthood closes Indiana center, citing harassment

Planned Parenthood closed its health center in Indiana’s second-largest city Monday, blaming what it called years of growing intimidation and harassment of the center’s staff by supporters of anti-abortion groups.

Posted: Jul 9, 2018 7:19 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Planned Parenthood closed its health center in Indiana’s second-largest city Monday, blaming what it called years of growing intimidation and harassment of the center’s staff by supporters of anti-abortion groups.

The Fort Wayne health center provided birth control options, sexually transmitted disease testing and early diagnosis of cervical, testicular and breast cancer, said Christie Gillespie, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. The facility did not perform abortion procedures.

A sign on the clinic’s door Monday said it is permanently closed and directed patients to Planned Parenthood sites in Elkhart and Mishawaka, both cities roughly a two-hour drive north of Fort Wayne.

Gillespie said the closure means the Fort Wayne area has lost a trusted health care provider. She said she’s “pretty angry” about the intimidation and harassment, which she said goes far beyond picketing outside of the health center, and she attributed it to supporters of Allen County Right to Life and other regional groups that oppose abortion.

Cathie Humbarger, the executive director of Allen County Right to Life, told WANE-TV the group doesn’t “practice or condone intimidation.”

But Humbarger and Indiana Right to Life president and CEO Mike Fichter said in a joint statement that they were “pleased” by the center’s closure, attributing it to a dwindling customer base and what they called the center’s growing unpopularity in the Fort Wayne area.

“Planned Parenthood’s accusation that intimidation by Right to Life led to this closure is simply untrue and smacks of an attempt by Planned Parenthood to turn its business woes into a fundraiser,” Humbarger and Fichter said in their statement.

Gillespie said the health center, which had four employees, saw 1,500 unduplicated patients during last fiscal year — about half of the nearly 3,000 patients it had two years ago. She said the numbers have fallen due to the harassment of staff and the difficulty of recruiting providers to work there.

“This has nothing to do with demand or finances,” she told The Journal Gazette. “Our closing is solely because of intimidation and harassment of patients, supporters and providers.”

Planned Parenthood provided copies of a mailer it said was sent to Fort Wayne neighborhoods that included the name, photograph and home address of a Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner, with the message, “there are killers among us.”

The group responsible for the mailers, Created Equal of Ohio, also sent the woman a letter saying it had “launched a campaign to expose the role you” play in enabling abortions, Planned Parenthood said. That letter said the nurse counsels women to get an abortion at larger Planned Parenthood facilities and said the campaign against her would stop if she quit her job.

“We’ve had providers that have been told that their life would be unlivable in Fort Wayne if they worked for us,” Gillespie said. “This is not how decent and compassionate people behave.”

Terre Haute
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 51°
Robinson
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 47°
Indianapolis
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 42°
Rockville
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 39°
Casey
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 43°
Brazil
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 51°
Marshall
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 51°
Mostly cloudy, a bit warmer.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 350744

Reported Deaths: 9496
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1651985364
DuPage20947598
Lake19546503
Will16898419
Kane15422341
Winnebago9114165
St. Clair7559213
Madison6795152
Champaign568028
McHenry5642120
Peoria424362
McLean386730
Rock Island367088
Unassigned3627260
Sangamon347554
Kankakee316878
Macon256848
Kendall247027
Tazewell240547
LaSalle218460
DeKalb209542
Coles178838
Williamson170958
Boone165524
Adams163315
Clinton158724
Vermilion15417
Jackson143325
Whiteside115222
Randolph114514
Knox10969
Effingham10903
Ogle10527
Grundy8777
Jefferson85844
Monroe84928
Bureau84717
Marion84512
Franklin8406
Stephenson8147
Morgan79624
Henry7945
Christian77125
Macoupin7319
Union73025
McDonough66515
Fayette63019
Crawford6246
Lee6121
Shelby5868
Livingston54910
Montgomery54815
Douglas5458
Logan5434
Woodford54311
Saline5037
Bond4669
Jersey45621
Iroquois45119
Warren4517
Cass44911
Wayne43410
Jo Daviess4275
Perry40616
Fulton4030
Moultrie3755
Carroll3658
Richland31714
Johnson3130
Lawrence3068
Hancock2843
Clay28111
Washington2781
Greene26915
Clark2666
Pike2604
Cumberland2536
Jasper24710
Mason2351
White2351
De Witt2273
Pulaski2261
Mercer2196
Piatt2070
Wabash2055
Ford1799
Menard1591
Massac1412
Edgar1398
Marshall1373
Hamilton1132
Henderson1110
Alexander1081
Gallatin1052
Edwards980
Brown960
Scott930
Putnam850
Schuyler801
Stark792
Calhoun690
Hardin490
Pope361
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 149166

Reported Deaths: 3960
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24564781
Lake13079350
St. Joseph8788157
Elkhart8371132
Allen7815221
Hamilton5923113
Vanderburgh553050
Tippecanoe350914
Monroe319438
Hendricks3140130
Johnson2972127
Porter293248
Clark282157
Delaware279674
Vigo248837
Madison226991
Cass221020
LaPorte213057
Warrick186563
Kosciusko173121
Floyd172766
Howard157466
Bartholomew138657
Dubois133724
Marshall130626
Henry121828
Boone118648
Grant118039
Wayne117123
Hancock114144
Noble111333
Jackson107412
Morgan91540
Dearborn90328
Daviess83732
Gibson82611
Clinton81316
Shelby78329
Lawrence77832
LaGrange76615
Harrison73324
Knox69610
Putnam69515
DeKalb68611
Posey6745
Steuben5888
Miami5765
Fayette57515
Montgomery56422
White56215
Jasper5464
Greene51237
Scott50613
Decatur49439
Adams4645
Whitley4316
Clay4276
Sullivan42412
Ripley4178
Wells4125
Orange38624
Wabash3859
Starke3847
Huntington3695
Spencer3686
Franklin36325
Jennings35913
Washington3512
Randolph3378
Fulton3292
Jefferson3285
Pike31612
Carroll30813
Perry28914
Jay2816
Fountain2743
Tipton26623
Parke2182
Newton21111
Vermillion2111
Rush2034
Owen1991
Martin1950
Blackford1903
Crawford1481
Pulaski1431
Brown1283
Ohio1187
Benton1070
Union1020
Switzerland840
Warren731
Unassigned0233