Photo: Jason Coleman
A bill regulating abortion-inducing drugs administered at Indiana abortion clinics will advance to the House floor after passage in committee Wednesday.
When the bill passed the Senate, it required women receiving the abortion-inducing drug known as RU-486 to undergo an ultrasound prior to taking the drug. Changes in the House committee Wednesday would require the ultrasound to be offered but allow women to turn it down.
The bill now only forces changes at one Indiana location – a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette. That facility, the only one in the state which dispenses RU-486 but does not perform surgical abortions, would have to adhere to surgical abortion clinic requirements like door size, room size and equipment standards.
Planned Parenthood says the new regulations would be unnecessary and may cause the clinic to stop dispensing the drug.
But Attica Republican Representative Sharon Negele, the bill’s sponsor, says she wants clinics that dispense the drug to be prepared for potential complications.
“What type of facility would I want it to provide? What type of follow-up care?That’s why I chose to sponsor this bill, because I want these safeguards in place for my daughter and her friends,” she says.
The bill does not require the same standards for private physicians who dispense the drug. Kristin Hollister, an Indiana University med student, says if the bill were truly about safety, all facilities that distribute the drugs would be regulated.
When challenged to present evidence that private doctors in Indiana dispense RU-486, Hollister said she could not provide any factual data.
“But I do know that private physicians perform abortions,” she says. “They don’t talk about it because they don’t want bombs in their parking lots.”
Hollister says if clinics like the Lafayette facility are forced to stop dispensing the drug, women will go to the Internet instead, creating a more dangerous scenario.