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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ind. Law - "Trimmed abortion bill goes to Indiana Senate"

Niki Kelly has the story today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. The story begins:

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. [ILB: Chairwoman Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis]

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.

Barb Berggoetz's story in the Indianapolis Star begins:
A Senate bill that would have imposed more restrictions on abortion providers in the state was watered down in committee Wednesday, but Planned Parenthood leaders object to a remaining proposal they say could lead to harassing doctors.

The committee also passed a bill creating a legislative study committee to look into making it illegal to “coerce a woman concerning an abortion” and to determine how often this occurs in Indiana.

Under revised Senate Bill 292, the identities of physicians who agree to handle complications or emergencies for other physicians who perform abortions would have to be submitted to the Indiana State Department of Health.

“The one biggest remaining concern is the potential for the backup physicians to be named publicly,” Betty Cockrum, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said after the hearing. “We know what that means. And it’s not pretty.”

During the hearing before the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee, Liz Carroll, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of patient services, said doctors who perform abortions and agency leaders have had protesters screaming outside their houses and been harassed in other ways.

In Bloomington, a protester took an axe to a clinic, she said.

In other states, two doctors have been killed and numerous clinics bombed or set on fire, according to news reports.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Waterman, R-Shelburn, passed the committee 8-2, with Democratic Sens. Mark Stoops of Bloomington and Gregory Taylor, Indianapolis, voting against it.

Cockrum said her agency suggests that information on backup physicians be made available to the state department at the time it inspects the clinics to lessen the risk of exposure. A law passed in 2011 requires a doctor who performs abortions in Indiana to have admitting privileges to a hospital or to have a backup physician who can handle potential medical complications.

ILB: Recall from this Jan. 28th post that the version of the law, as amended in 2013, already is in federal court, pending trial. The 2013 amendments have been enjoined from taking effect in the meantime.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 30, 2014 09:28 AM
Posted to Indiana Law