INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A bill that would tighten Indiana's regulations on
distribution of the abortion pill and on the clinics that provide only
drug-induced abortions won final legislative approval Thursday and is
headed to Republican Gov. Mike Pence.
The state Senate voted 35-14 to agree with a version of the bill that the
House approved last week. Pence has said he supports the bill and is
expected to sign it into law.
The bill would require clinics that provide only drug-induced abortions to
meet the same facility standards as clinics that perform surgical
abortions. Opponents say the additional standards are unnecessary and are
aimed at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette, which is the state's
only non-surgical abortion site.
Bill sponsor Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, said the measure's primary
focus was to have drug-induced abortions fall under the same state
regulations as surgical abortions.
"There are those of us who believe for a woman's safety we need to be
doing that," Holdman said.
Senate opponents to the bill argued that the new regulations would
unfairly target poor women and are meant to complicate women's personal
Planned Parenthood of Indiana officials have said the additional standards
would force the Lafayette clinic to follow rules such as ensuring that
procedure and recovery rooms are the right size, even though its only
abortion service consists of doctors providing pills. Women take the pill
at the office, then leave and let the drugs take effect.
Supporters of the bill said the Lafayette clinic still could continue
offering services such as birth control and screenings for cancer and
sexually transmitted diseases.
"They don't have to close," said Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis. "They
don't provide this drug, they stay open and they continue to provide
Planned Parenthood also has said if the bill becomes law, it would keep
the Lafayette clinic open, but would have to review whether it can afford
a remodeling project to continue distributing the abortion pill.
Nine surgical abortion clinics are currently licensed in Indiana,
including three run by Planned Parenthood, according to state records.
An Indiana House last month dropped earlier provisions the Senate had
backed aimed at having doctors perform two ultrasounds on women seeking
the abortion drugs. Planned Parenthood said its doctors perform
ultrasounds before abortions, but opposed mandating medical procedures by
Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said she believed the bill's new
restrictions on abortion pill distribution will end up with more women
buying it online and without being under a doctor's care.
"What this bill will do is encourage women, low-income women in
particular, to go to the Internet where they can avoid all of this,"
Becker was among three Republicans who joined 11 Democrats in voting
against the bill.
Other provisions in the measure would prohibit the abortion drugs from
being given to a woman more than nine weeks pregnant unless federal
regulators in the future approve it for use after that time. It also would
require clinics to provide information on the dangers of abortion-causing
drugs and offer women the option of viewing an ultrasound or hearing the