Whole Woman's Health Alliance v. Hill, No. 19-2051 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
For two years, Alliance was unable to obtain a license from the Indiana State Department of Health to open a South Bend clinic to provide medication abortion care. After two unsuccessful applications, a statutory amendment, and a “moving target of wide-ranging requests for information,” Alliance concluded that its attempts were futile and sought a preliminary injunction. The district court granted preliminary relief, holding that Alliance has shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that Indiana’s requirement of licensure for clinics that provide only medication abortions (induced exclusively by taking pills), as applied to Alliance's clinic, violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses.
The Seventh Circuit held that the district court’s broad condemnation of Indiana’s licensing scheme runs contrary to Supreme Court precedent. While this litigation is pending, the state may, for the most part, administer that system. The court expressed concerns about the handling of Alliance’s application. Indiana may use licensing as a legitimate means of vetting and monitoring providers, but, to the extent that Indiana is using its licensing scheme to prevent the South Bend clinic from opening simply to block access to pre-viability abortions, it is acting unconstitutionally. The district court must modify the injunction to instruct Indiana to treat the Alliance’s South Bend facility as though it were provisionally licensed.