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Danville abortion clinic plans to open despite city ban and two attacks

The proposed abortion clinic in Danville on Thursday, June 8. The building has been attacked twice within recent weeks.

DANVILLE — The proposed abortion clinic in Danville will open once repairs from two separate attacks on the building are finished, owner LaDonna Prince said. 

Since 1977, Prince has operated the Clinic for Women, which performs abortions, in Indianapolis. But the Indiana Governor signed an abortion ban in 2022 that was supposed to go into effect last September. But, abortion is still legal – because the law is being challenged in court. 

Danville was the perfect location for a new location, Prince said, because it’s right across the border in Illinois. If Indiana bans abortions, they could continue to serve Indiana residents. 

“We do want to be able to continue to serve as women of Indiana, if and when we lose the right to perform abortions here,” Prince said. 

At her Indiana location, Prince said they’ve had very little pushback except when someone glued their locks shut. But she never could have imagined a man would drive his car into the Danville building. 

A Danville resident holds a sign which reads “No abortions in Danville” outside of the proposed abortion clinic in Danville on Monday, March 27. Farrah Anderson/Illinois Newsroom

In that case, an Illinois man was charged with attempted arson after the May 20 attack. Last week, a vandal tore down the temporary repairs from that incident. 

“It is something that happened to us,” Prince said. “It is not going to define us.” 

States that have legalized abortion saw a disproportionate increase in violence and disruption since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last June, according to Melissa Fowler, the chief program officer with the National Abortion Federation. 

Early last month, the Danville City Council passed an ordinance outlawing the shipping of medication and tools used to perform abortions into the city. 

But, it will only go into effect when a court says it can. The ordinance was completely unexpected, Prince said. 

“I’m not delusional. I didn’t expect that everyone will welcome us with open arms,” Prince said. “But I certainly didn’t expect them to create an ordinance to try to work against us and against their own state law.”

An anti-abortion rights protestors holds a sign which reads “Pray to End Abortion at the Danville City Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 3. The council passed an ordinance restricting abortion within the city. Farrah Anderson / Illinois Newsroom

The city council passed the ordinance despite legal threats from the ACLU of Illinois and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Aldermen also disregarded the opinion of James Simon, the attorney for the council, who said these decisions are ultimately up to the city of Illinois. 

“I do not believe under Illinois law or federal law, that this ordinance is legal,” Simon said.

Despite all the pushback, Prince said she believes that more people in the community want them there than those who don’t. A supporter set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise $500,000 to finish repairs to the building and put in more security measures. 

“My job is to protect our clients and protect the staff. Everybody needs to go home at night,” Prince said. “We’re going to do everything we can possibly do to try to fortify the clinic to put all the safety measures in place that we have now and more.”

Farrah Anderson is a journalist and student at the University of Illinois. Follow her on Twitter @farrahsoa.

Farrah Anderson

Farrah Anderson

Farrah Anderson is a student at the University of Illinois studying journalism. At Illinois Public Media, Anderson works as a general assignment reporter and produces and hosts the 217 Today podcast.

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