FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Fort Wayne's Planned Parenthood location is closing, NewsChannel 15 learned Monday. The clinic held a rally in the evening at the now closed facility to voice their frustrations.
A sign on the door of the health center on West Jefferson Boulevard says reads, "This health center is permanently closed." It directed patients to the Planned Parenthood locations in Elkhart and Mishawaka.
According to leaders from Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, the closing of the clinic is due directly to intimidation and harassment of patients, providers, and supporters of PPINK led by Allen County Right to Life (ACRL) and others in the Fort Wayne community."
Protesters gathered often at the intersection of Illinois Road and West Jefferson Boulevard to protest abortion practices, despite the clinic not providing abortion services.
The executive director of Allen County Right to Life responded to the news of the closing by releasing a statement to NewsChannel 15.
"We are pleased to see Indiana's largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, is closing its doors in Fort Wayne. We believe Planned Parenthood's closure is due to its dwindling customer base in Indiana and its unpopularity in the greater Fort Wayne community. 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."
NewsChannel 15 has also learned that Planned Parenthood had been looking for a new location because the lease was on a month to month basis. Administrators had been looking to find a different building but were not having luck given the controversial nature of Planned Parenthood.
More than 60 people showed up at Monday's Rally. The people lined up on Jefferson Blvd with signs that said "I stand with Planned Parenthood."
Indiana State representative Phil GiaQuinta (District 80 - D) and U.S. congressional candidate Courtney Tritch made appearances.
"I think it's unfortunate that the fear mongering and intimidation that is ripping our country apart has found its way into our own backyard and causing this health center to close and that's unacceptable to me," Tritch said.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) President and CEO Christie Gillespie also came to give support.
"I could not be more thrilled and pleased with the turnout tonight," she said. "Planned parenthood is here to stay. We're not going to go back. We'll still have a presence here in the city of Fort Wayne and my hope is that the health center absence will be short term."