May 2, 2013 —Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Wednesday signed into law a bill (SB 371) that imposes stricter regulations on clinics that offer medication abortions and prohibits the provision of abortion-inducing drugs after nine weeks of pregnancy, the Lafayette Journal and Courier reports (Murray, Lafayette Journal and Courier, 5/1).
Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum said a lawsuit is "very likely," adding that the organization is reviewing its legal options (Davies, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/1).
The law requires clinics that offer only medication abortions to adhere to the same building and equipment standards as facilities that perform the surgical procedure, including extra-wide hallways and doors, a scrub room, oversized exam rooms, and a bathroom and drinking fountain in the waiting room (Carden, NWI Times, 5/1). The clinic restrictions are set to take effect in January.
The law's other provisions take effect July 1. In addition to the ban on medication abortions after nine weeks of pregnancy, a woman must indicate in writing if she refuses to view an ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat prior to the abortion.
In a statement, Pence said, "I believe in the right to life and in protecting the health and well-being of women in Indiana." He added, "Abortion-inducing drugs can be very dangerous, and must be prescribed under conditions that ensure proper medical care. This new law helps accomplish that goal" (Lafayette Journal and Courier, 5/1).
Cockrum said, "The additional regulations in this bill are in no way related to 'patient safety,'" adding, "Legislators really intend to chip away at Hoosier women's access to abortion -- and as part of a coordinated national effort, shut down Planned Parenthood's health care centers that also provide preventive care."
Planned Parenthood officials said the clinic restrictions are aimed at forcing the group's Lafayette clinic -- which only offers medication abortion -- to end the practice (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/1).