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Trimmed abortion bill goes to Indiana Senate

INDIANAPOLIS – A measure meant to put additional regulations on the state’s abortion clinics was vastly changed in a Senate committee Wednesday, leaving just a few smaller concerns.

Senate Bill 292 originally would have made some major changes to abortion law but an amendment was offered immediately by the committee chairwoman to remove most of the legislation.

After amendment, the bill passed the committee and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill originally would have eliminated a grandfathering provision and required all abortion clinics to meet certain physical plant standards. The amendment removed that language.

The original bill also would have required annual inspections of the clinic instead of biennial. The legislation now says the Indiana State Department of Health may inspect once a year and when complaints are filed.

Lastly, the measure touches slightly on current law requiring any abortion doctor to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital or an alternate backup physician with admitting privileges.

The bill would have eliminated the back-up physician option but was kept to reflect current law.

It does now require more information to be provided about the backup to the state.

Liz Carroll, vice president of patient services for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said allowing the backup physicians’ name to be public could result in harassment of the doctors. The group has no problem making the information available to state officials when they are onsite inspecting the clinic.

Cindy Noe, of Indiana Right to Life, testified it is important that women receiving an abortion are also provided the name and phone number of the local hospital where the doctor or backup has admitting privileges.

This is in addition to a 24/7 emergency phone line already in law.

“If they need eminent care they can go to that hospital and know their needs will be taken care of,” she said.

But Carroll said that information might confuse a woman who should go to her nearest hospital if she is in need of emergency care.

She noted abortions are only done in five Indiana counties so knowing a hospital in that area doesn’t help a woman who has returned to another city.