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Committee Scales Back Bill Regulating Abortion Clinics

statehouse

A Senate committee today scaled back legislation regulating abortion clinics, removing many of the provisions drawing concern from Planned Parenthood.

State law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges in a local hospital or for abortion doctors to enter into agreements with a doctor that has admitting privileges. Planned Parenthood refers to these doctors  as “backup physicians.”

The bill authored by Sen. John Waterman, R-Shelburn, originally barred abortion doctors from using backup physicians to fulfill their admitting privileges requirement.

But a change the Senate Health Committee approved would only require abortion doctors and backup physicians to have their admitting privileges in writing with the clinic, the hospital and the Department of Health.

Indiana Right to Life spokeswoman Cindy Noe says the change focuses the bill’s intent.

“If you do need a medical follow-up, you want to know that there is a place that you can go to that recognizes this doctor or the doctor’s associate that has the admitting privileges there," she says.

But Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Vice President Liz Carroll says filing written proof of agreements with backup physicians with the Department of Health could make their names public and leave them open to harassment.

“I think the unintended consequence of making it public would be that we would have no backup physicians since they are doing this because they think it’s the right thing in the community but they do not want to expose themselves to harassment," Carroll says.

The bill also initially required abortion clinics to adhere to stricter physical requirements and required the Department of Health to inspect each clinic at least once a year.

Those requirements were taken out.

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