Faith in the Real Presence Results in Abortuary Closing

News: US News
by Martina Moyski  •  •  June 8, 2023   

'History repeating itself'

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. ( - The only abortuary in the Michiana area of Indiana is shuttering — with Hoosiers offering varying explanations for the fall.

Bp. Kevin Rhoades and Atty. Shawn Sullivan

According to a local news station, Whole Woman's Health Alliance (WWHA) is closing its abortuary in South Bend due to "challenges" its operators say surround the state's ongoing battle over a near-total ban on abortion. WWHA says it will continue, however, to answer phone calls from women seeking abortions and refer them to other abortion facilities.

Divine Aid?

Pro-lifers, however, are calling the closing good news, even an act of divine intervention. Local attorney and pro-life advocate Shawn Sullivan told Church Militant he attributes the closing to the power of the Holy Eucharist.

Sullivan, who is also leader of the Apostolate of Divine Mercy — which operates in service of life, marriage and the family — explained to Church Militant how he "went to the source and summit of the apostolate's weaponry — the Eucharist" to combat abortion.

After approval from Bp. Kevin Rhoades of the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, and with the support of St. Joseph County Right to Life, the attorney built an adoration chapel next to WWHA that looked out upon the abortuary. The chapel, named after St. Michael the Archangel, was completed a year and a half ago. 

Sullivan continued:

We were able to have the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus Himself, right there on the front lines with the prayer warriors and sidewalk counselors. Obviously, we continued to pray for all of the court and legislative maneuverings to shut down WWHA, but the focus of our prayer was to shut down the abortuary that could be looked upon as chapelgoers looked upon Our Lord.

"There is no doubt that our faith in the real presence on the front lines resulted in WWHA shutting down," he continued. "Because of the courts' maneuvering, WWHA could have remained in the child-killing business, but it surrendered its license instead."

The inside of the St. Michael the Archangel Chapel

Antonio Marchi, executive director of Right to Life Michiana, also weighed in on the closure, telling Church Militant, "While we remain heartbroken at the thought of over 1,100 children who are not alive today because of abortions performed at WWHA of South Bend, we are hopeful that no more moms and babies will be victimized here."

The pro-life leader also pointed out that WWHA "has painted a false picture," suggesting women will be deprived of health care as its facility closes.

"Right to Life Michiana will continue showing women they can get all the help they need to navigate the joys and challenges of life right here in our community without turning to abortion," he said.

Right to Life Michiana will continue showing women they can get all the help they need without turning to abortion.

Administrators of the WWHA lamented the closure of the facility, expressing pride in its horrific deeds.

"We are devastated to mark the end of our physical presence in South Bend," said WWHA president Amy Hagstrom Miller. "Even while navigating relentless attacks on our staff, medical providers, and clinic building — we were still able to serve over 1,100 patients for medication abortion care in our small but mighty South Bend clinic."

Antonio Marchi, executive director of Right to Life Michiana

Miller added, "While we will no longer provide abortions at our South Bend clinic location, our resolve to help Hoosiers is as strong as ever." 

Legal Wrangling

In fall 2022, Indiana became the first state in the nation to ban abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The state's law bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies or when a mother's life is at risk — exceptions not recognized by the Catholic Church.

The legislation was set to take effect Sept. 15, 2022, but was put on hold later that month by a judge who questioned whether the abortion ban contradicted Indiana's Constitution. The judge's injunction meant that abortion providers could temporarily resume killing. 

A second injunction was issued in December 2022. The plaintiffs, including Hoosier Jews for Choice, argued the ban burdened "their ability to exercise their religion."

Not the First Success

This is not the first time Sullivan credits Christ when claiming victory in the battle against abortion. In 2016, another South Bend abortuary, the Women's Pavilion, was shuttered after The Life Center, a pro-life advocacy organization also run by Sullivan, moved in next door.

With the permission of Bp. Rhoades, a holy altar replete with the Blessed Sacrament was retained at the site. Pro-lifers prayed day and night for the murdered babies and for the closing of the abortuary, according to Sullivan. 

There is no doubt that our faith in the real presence resulted in WWHA shutting down.

For years, the Women's Pavilion's now-deceased chief abortionist, Ulrich Klopfer, had been mired in controversy.

In 2014, Klopfer neglected to inform the state about abortions performed on girls under the age of 14. Admitting to two situations, he called it "an honest mistake." It was also found that between 2011 and 2013, Klopfer had more than 1,200 complaints filed against him by users of his abortuary. Pro-life investigators found 1,494 errors in the paperwork he submitted to the state, showing he filed false or misleading reports on behalf of clients. Around the same time, documents were uncovered charging Women's Pavilion workers with sexually harassing health inspectors when they came to inspect the facility.

Sullivan told Church Militant there's no doubt there was "a connection between the closing of the Women's Pavilion in 2016 and the Divine Presence next door. History has just repeated itself in 2023."

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