If a strip joint has to obey the Americans With Disabilities Act, Cathie Humbarger figures, so should Fort Wayne's abortion clinic.
The executive director of Allen County Right to Life today filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice against the Fort Wayne Women's Health Organization, alleging that the clinic at 2210 Inwood Drive does not provide handicapped parking spaces or a ramp for wheelchair access -- an omission Humbarger says could endanger women who have just undergone surgery there.
The Right to Life Office moved to 2126 Inwood a year ago, and Humbarger said that she has seen "women leaving (the clinic) in apparent discomfort. Moreover, these women were unable to walk unassisted - apparently as the result of having undergone an abortion. These women had to walk down steps and across a parking lot to their vehicles. On each occasion, these women were being physically held up by a (clinic) employee and/or an unidentified person.
"It was obvious their physical condition required being transported in a wheelchair, but that is not available to them because there is no wheelchair ramp."
Humbarger said the complaint is not intended to be petty but to protect women and to ensure that the clinic is held to the same legal standard as churches, businesses and even "gentlemen's clubs." As The News-Sentinel reported in 2006, the opening of the multi-level Shangri-La East on Coliseum Boulevard was delayed after inspectors ordered the installation of an elevator in order to comply with the ADA.
"We care about these women, and the lack of proper care after the procedure is alarming to me," Humbarger said.
The Right to Life office is equipped with handicapped parking and a ramp, she added.
Clinic officials were unavailable for comment.