(AP) - A proposed requirement that doctors must try to perform a second
ultrasound exam on women after they received abortion-inducing drugs was
dropped Monday by the Indiana Senate.
In the bill on
abortion pill regulations, doctors still would have to perform an ultrasound
exam on the woman before providing the drugs, which opponents say is a step
that wrongly interferes in medical decisions between a doctor and patient.
The bill also requires doctors to schedule a follow-up visit about two weeks
after providing the abortion medication, but the woman is not required to
Senators, in a
unanimous voice vote, approved the change in the bill that would force
clinics that provide only abortion drugs to have the same facilities and
equipment as surgical abortion clinics
attacked the bill’s ultrasound provisions, saying it would essentially
require a transvaginal procedure, though the bill doesn’t specify what type
of ultrasound must be done.
faces a full Senate vote on Tuesday, which would then send it to the
Sen. Ron Alting,
R-Lafayette, sponsored the move to drop the second ultrasound and replace it
with a requirement that doctors perform “appropriate testing.” Alting said
that would give doctors the option of performing blood or urine tests on
“I think that
physicians know a little bit more about that particular area than
legislators,” Alting said.
But when asked
why his amendment didn’t remove the requirement for a pre-drug
administration ultrasound, Alting said: “I just know that I didn’t have the
votes for that to happen.”
turned aside proposed amendments from outnumbered Democrats that would have
mandated certain medical exams before a doctor could prescribe erectile
dysfunction drugs to men and would have extended requirements for abortion
clinic facilities to offices that treat infertility and erectile
The full bill’s
sponsor, Republican Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle, said he had no objections
to removing the requirement for the second ultrasound but that he believed
the first one was essential to help prevent the possibility of severe
complications if a woman with a tubal pregnancy was given abortion-inducing
doctors had told him that abdominal ultrasounds were typically sufficient
and he believed opponents’ claims that a transvaginal procedure would be
required were “a lot of hype.”
In Virginia, a
proposal to give women seeking abortions a transvaginal sonogram was
withdrawn last year after it met widespread opposition.
states currently have laws mandating some form of pre-abortion ultrasound
exam, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which researches
Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum said that senators were
“continuing to practice medicine without a license” by including the
nonsurgical abortions are performed so early in a pregnancy, so as a
diagnostic tool it is much more likely that a doctor is going to use a
transvaginal probe than not,” Cockrum said.
spokeswoman for Indiana Right to Life, said the anti-abortion group was
satisfied with the bill even without the second ultrasound provision.
“We feel like it
was stronger with that requirement, but it’s still a huge improvement for
women’s health and safety,” Rogness said. “We are eager to see it go through
a pro-life House and make it to the governor’s desk.”
legislators in 2011 pushed through a law that cut off some state funding to
Planned Parenthood, but federal courts have blocked it from taking effect.
Republican Gov. Mike Pence unsuccessfully pushed a similar federal defunding
proposal in 2011 while he was in Congress.
Cockrum said the
bill’s provision on clinic regulations would likely force Planned Parenthood
to stop providing abortion pill services at its Lafayette clinic, which is
believed to be the only location that would be affected by the regulation
clinics are licensed in Indiana, including three run by Planned Parenthood,
according to state records.