Ind. Senate Panel Advances Medication Abortion Bill

January 26, 2012 — An Indiana Senate committee on Wednesday voted 5-4 to approve a bill that would create new protocols for physicians prescribing mifepristone for mediation abortion, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports.

Under the bill, a doctor would have to examine the woman in person, provide written information about the physical risks of abortion and schedule a follow-up ultrasound for two weeks later. Failure to follow the requirements could result in a misdemeanor criminal charge. Supporters of the bill said it would help protect women from potential side effects after taking the drug.

Doctors also would have to follow FDA guidelines for administering mifepristone. The guidelines, issued in 2000, call for a 600-milligram dose, but studies since then have shown that 200 mg is sufficient, according to John Stutsman, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and an Indiana University medical professor.

Stutsman told the committee that the higher dose would increase women's risk for side effects. He said he opposes the idea of mandating how doctors should care for their patients.

State Sen. Travis Holdman (R), the bill's sponsor, said he would speak with doctors and other stakeholders about changing the dosage requirement before the full Senate considers the measure (Davies, AP/Chicago Tribune, 1/25).