Senate bills tweak abortion rules, require more paperwork
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org February 20, 2013 11:12AM
Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. | File~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:25AM
INDIANAPOLIS — New legislation in the state Senate would place restrictions on abortion drugs and create new paperwork required before a patient seeks an abortion.
State Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, authored Senate Bill 371, which requires a physician to administer an abortion drug under the same requirements of a surgical abortion.
The state Senate health committee voted 7-5 Wednesday to advance the bill to the full Senate.
Private physicians are not affected by the bill, but clinics that offer the drug would be more regulated, needing a face-to-face visit with a physician and a two week follow-up with the patient.
Senate Bill 489 would require a standard form created by the Indiana Department of Health in which a physician who provides the abortion gives their name, address and contact numbers. The bill also changes current law that requires the physician to perform an ultrasound before the procedures. If a woman does not want to hear the fetal heart tone, she can opt out by signing a form.
State Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, said his bill removes the requirement, and provides consistent information developed by the state. “This gives her a way out,” Young said, “She doesn’t have to do either, she only has to sign a document.”
Proponents spoke out on both sides of the issue, with more debate around the restrictions on drugs.
Two medical students, Phil Forys and Anna Gaddy, from the Indiana University School of Medicine testified against the bill at the Health and Provider Services Committee, saying it would restrict access to safe and supervised health care, especially to lower income women.
“Now these clinics will be forced to divert funding to improve their facilities,” Gaddy said, “instead of using the funds to provide health care.”
“It seems to me that the Legislature doesn’t trust physicians to give the patients this information,” Forys said. “I don’t see any other reason that these forms would be necessary.”
Supporters of the bill say it would allow more information for the mother.
“We believe it is important that woman are fully informed before making the life decision,” said Glenn Tebbe of the Indiana Catholic Conference. “It’s in the interest of the state to protect the life of the child and the health of the mother.”
Both bills passed through the committee, and will head to the Senate floor.