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Bill for tougher Ind. abortion pill law advances

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana clinics that provide only abortion drugs would face the same requirements as those where surgical abortions are performed under a proposal approved Wednesday by a state legislative committee.

The bill approved by the Senate's health committee in a 7-5 vote would also require doctors to have ultrasound examinations conducted on women before providing any drugs to cause abortions.

The provisions covering clinics that provide abortion pills would require them to have surgery facilities and equipment and resuscitation equipment, such as defibrillators, even if surgical abortions aren't conducted there. The bill exempts physician offices from any extra regulations even if those doctors sometimes prescribe abortion pills.

Dr. John Stutsman, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said a clinic the group operates in Lafayette is believed to be the only location that would be affected by the regulation changes.

Nine abortion clinics are currently licensed around the state, including three run by Planned Parenthood, according to state records.

Supporters of the increased regulations maintain abortion pills sometimes lead to health problems for which the prescribing clinic must be prepared and have the proper facilities.

"They don't need to have all that to hand pills over," Indiana Right to Life legislative director Sue Swayze said. But she said complications are more common with drug-induced abortions and "that's when they're going to need to follow through with their care" of a patient.

Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville joined committee Democrats in questioning how the additional clinic restrictions would benefit health care for women.

"We have a billion-dollar surplus and we're not doing anything to increase funding for mental health, we aren't doing anything to increase funding for more care for low-income women," Becker said. "This bill definitely limits access to safe and affordable health care for low-income women."

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