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Two vaginal ultrasounds, too much 

By Tim Grimes

click to enlarge Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, discusses with Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, about a bill to restrict abortion, which passed second reading in the Senate on Monday. - TIM GRIMES
  • Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, discusses with Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, about a bill to restrict abortion, which passed second reading in the Senate on Monday.
  • Tim Grimes

The Senate voted Monday to eliminate one of the two ultrasounds that would be required for women using drugs for an abortion under legislation now set for a Senate vote.

Senate Bill 371 requires that a clinic that dispenses an abortion-inducing drug - known as RU486 - would have to meet the same standards, both in care and facility, as a surgical clinic. Originally, the bill would also have required that women receive an ultrasound before receiving the drugs and then at a later appointment as part of an effort to ensure the procedure was complete.

But concern that the legislation would cause women to undergo two procedures using a vaginal probe - necessary because the pregnancy would be so early - led Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, to author an amendment to do away with the second test. Instead, doctors would decide how best to determine that the drugs were successful.

"I think physicians know a little more about that area than legislators," Alting said.

The bill is one of two abortion-related bills that will now be eligible for a full Senate vote.

The other is Senate Bill 489, which would require that women be given a pamphlet with color images of fetal development rather than black and white illustrations.

Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, proposed an amendment that would have added provisions that would have required men to sign a consent form before getting a vasectomy. The consent form would have had similar information to the abortion consent form, such as alternatives to the procedure and the medical risks associated with a vasectomy.

"If this legislation is truly about informed consent, and not guilt-tripping or bullying an adult woman capable of making the right decision for herself," said Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, "Then this body will support making sure men also receive the relevant information regarding vasectomy." However, Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, said he was not happy about the amendment.

"You're making a mockery of lives that are unborn with this amendment," Young said. "I'm upset about it." The amendment failed 39-11.

Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, offered a similar amendment to SB 489. It would have made the requirements for obtaining erectile dysfunction medicine similar to those for getting an abortion-inducing drug.

"It includes an invasive procedure that is very similar to the invasive procedure that is borne by the female in this bill (SB 371)," Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, said. "And it provides the type of needles that will be used just as this bill provides the type of procedures that will be used against the female." The amendment failed on a voice vote.

Tim Grimes is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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