Women's Care Center to open location right next to proposed abortion provider

Supporters of the Women's Care Center pack the common council meeting. //WSBT 22 Photo.

The Women's Care Center will be opening a new facility on the west side of South Bend at 3527 Lincoln Way West.

The location is right next door to a proposed abortion clinic.

Monday night, the South Bend Common Council voted five to four to approve rezoning to make the plan happen.

Hundreds of people supporting the Women's Care Center expansion filled Monday's council meeting.

There were so many people the fire department stopped letting people in.

The council members who voted against it are worried that having the two facilities within 300 feet of each other will create a space of conflict.

Council President Tim Scott voted against the rezoning. He says there are a lot of people who have emailed and called saying they are against this plan.

Scott also said the rezoning goes against the Lincoln Way master plan.

A lot of the talk at the meeting was about the possibility of protesting.

The Women's Care Center has given written commitments that it will not support any kind of protesting.

"Our work creates an environment of safety for our community of South Bend, the communities that we are in. Twenty-two times over the last 34 years we have located next door or near abortion clinics and have not had the experience of protesting or violence," said Jenny Hunsberger, Women's Care Center vice president.

"For all the commitments anybody can do, you can't deny their first amendment rights. You can't control who is on sidewalks and who is on streets and such," said Scott.

Whole Women's Health, the abortion provider in the process of opening next door, sent a letter to the council saying it is against this plan.

The two clinics have sat down in hopes of working together to keep peace in the future.

Council members on both sides of the vote said their vote was not about being on the side of one clinic over the other.

They say their vote came down to how they interpret zoning ordinances.

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