Ind. Senate Panel Advances Bill Restricting Medication Abortion Providers

February 22, 2013 — The Indiana Senate Health Committee on Wednesday voted 7-5 to pass a bill (SB 371) that would tighten restrictions on clinics that provide medication abortion, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The bill now heads to the full Senate.

The measure would require clinics that offer medication abortion to adhere to the same standards -- such as having operating rooms, surgical tools and resuscitation equipment -- as facilities that offer surgical abortion (Davies, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/20).

In addition, physicians would be required to perform ultrasounds on women before providing a medication abortion and during a follow-up visit two weeks later. The measure would not apply to hospitals and physician offices.

Republican lawmakers said the rules are necessary because they claim medication abortion leads to higher complication rates than surgical abortion procedures (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 2/21).

The legislation would bring Indiana in line with requirements in most other states that regulate medical and surgical abortion facilities the same way, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Only six states currently regulate the two types of clinics differently.

John Stutsman, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said the group's clinic in Lafayette, Ind., is the only facility in the state that would be affected (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/20).