Committee passes abortion bills to full Senate 

COURTESY OF MICHAEL SORON VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Courtesy of Michael Soron via Flickr Creative Commons


Amanda Creech

A pair of bills that would affect abortion regulations in Indiana passed a Senate committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 228, authored by Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, would create a summer study committee to study whether women are being coerced into having an abortions and whether clinics should have to report such actions to law enforcement.

The Senate Health & Provider Services Committee amended the bill to include a study of women who were coerced into not having an abortion.

"Many of the specific questions are unknown about coerced abortion," said Cindy Noe, a former lawmaker and lobbyist for Indiana Right to Life. "The essence of the bill would suggest we do not have an adequate body of knowledge upon which we should make decisions concerning coerced abortions."

Noe said she would like the study to focus on whether there are coerced abortions, the impact of coerced abortions, and how widespread they are.

"It is a more in depth, well-rounded look at a topic - we need to fill in some blanks," she said. "Maybe there should be action from this summer study committee, maybe not. But that is one of the things that would be decided at the end of the summer study committee."

Betty Cockrum, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said her mission was to help and support those who need it most.

"I would argue that a woman should not be coerced. Period," Cockrum said.

The committee passed the bill 9-1 and it now moves to the full House for consideration.

The second bill, Senate Bill 292, would require facilities where abortions are performed to have an emergency hotline.

The bill was amended to alter Department of Health inspection requirements. Currently the health department must inspect facilities where abortions are performed every year. The language was changed so that the health department may inspect the facilities, but they would no longer be required to.

SB 292 would make it easier for women to contact a hospital after an abortion is performed by providing the physician's contact information, as well as the back-up physician's information.

Liz Carroll, vice president of patient services for Planned Parenthood, said she supported the bill, but did have some concerns.

"We already give a toll free number on every piece of paper and address it multiple times during each visit," Carroll said. She also said asking back-up physicians to submit their contact information to the department of health could cause them to run into harassment issues.

Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, asked Carroll to work with author of the bill, Sen. John Waterman, R-Shelburn, to address her concerns.

The bill passed the committee 8-2 and now moves to the full Senate.

Amanda Creech is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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