INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
A doctor who treats a woman for complications arising from an abortion would
have to report detailed information about the patient to the state, under a
bill approved by an Indiana Senate committee on Wednesday.
Supporters of the
measure, authored by Republican Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle, say it is
intended to protect women’s health and ensure abortions are provided safely.
It would require
doctors, hospitals and abortion clinics to report to the State Department of
Health each case in which a patient suffers from any of a wide range of
medical complications outlined in the bill.
“If the state of
Indiana is really interested in the health of women,” said Sen. Liz Brown,
R-Fort Wayne. “... Then the best way we can do this is find out
that the data - which would include where the procedure was performed -
could be used to further scrutinize the state’s six remaining abortion
clinics. They say it’s invasive and would only erect more hurdles for women
in a state that already tightly restricts abortion.
“This is nothing
but Big Brother state government sticking their nose into an area of a
person’s life that they have no business knowing about,” said Democratic
Sen. Tim Lanane, of Anderson.
Lanane was the lone
person to oppose the bill, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary
committee on a 6-1 vote.
The number of
abortions performed in Indiana has declined significantly over the past
decade, which anti-abortion advocates attribute to strict laws approved amid
a Republican surge to power.
But in more recent
years, newer and even stricter abortion laws were found unconstitutional by
the courts. That has resulted in the state paying back more than $290,000 in
legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the laws,
state records show.
This year’s bill
may not be as prohibitive. But a state analysis indicates that if passed, it
could result in more taxpayer-funded court costs.
Under the bill,
there is a lengthy list of abortion complications that must be reported.
They include serious medical conditions like renal failure, cardiac arrest,
hemorrhaging, blood clots and infection. But the measure also lumps in
depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
information that would be gathered includes a woman’s age, race, how many
children they have, if any of their children have died, how many abortions
they have had and when their last period was.
The state would
summarize the data in a report, though identifying information would not be
some provisions aimed specifically at abortion medications are needed due
the increasing popularity of drugs like RU-486. The data could help health
officials if women start obtaining such drugs over the Internet from sketchy
sources, they said.