Indiana House Committee Holds Hearing on Abortion Bill Requiring Hospital Privs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana House Committee Holds Hearing on Abortion Bill Requiring Hospital Privs

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 19
, 2009

Indianpolis, IN ( — An Indiana House committee held a hearing on Wednesday on a pro-life bill that would require abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. In cases when an abortion goes horribly wrong and the abortion practitioner puts the life of the mother in jeopardy, the woman needs medical help.

Making sure she has a ready access to that is the point of the bill that the state Senate approved already on a 44-6 vote.

Backers of the measure say it is needed to protect women while pro-abortion groups opposed the bill as another means of limiting abortions.

Not only would the bill help protect women, but it could put some abortion practitioners out of business who can’t find a hospital willing to allow them to admit patients. That would undoubtedly reduce the number of abortions.

Sen. Patricia Miller, an Indianapolis Republican, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 89, which the state House did not take up for a vote last year. This time, the House Public Policy Committee heard testimony on Wednesday.

Rep. Dave Cheatham, a Democrat who is the sponsor of the House version of the bill, spoke in favor of it during the panel hearing and said patient safety is the main thrust of the bill.

Abortion advocates said complaints could be filed against an abortion practitioner for a botched abortion but Sue Swayze, a lobbyist with Indiana Right to Life, said filing such a complaint "doesn’t address a woman’s care the days after the procedure. It only addresses multiple complaints against a doctor that may or may not be addressed over time."

Rep. Trent Van Haaften, a Democrat who heads the panel, said another hearing would be held next week but would not tell the Indianapolis Star if a vote would be taken.

If the committee approves the measure it would go to the full House and then the governor.

The bill comes after Vanderburgh County approved a local measure last year making sure abortion practitioners there have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Local officials said it is important in the ever-increasing cases of botched abortions where women need immediate medical care.

Under the new ordinance, any doctor doing abortions must disclose to patients the name of the hospital with which admitting privileges are maintained so as to facilitate better follow-up care in the event of post-abortion complications.

Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter told, “Regardless of how you feel about the issue of abortion, everyone should applaud the Vanderburgh County Commission for taking this proactive step in making sure that proper safety requirements are in place if a woman experiences complications after an abortion."

Legislative attempts in 2007 and 2008 to enact statewide hospital admitting privileges requirements for doctors performing abortions were approved in the Indiana Senate with overwhelming numbers only to be defeated in the Indiana House by hostile committee assignments.

During the last legislative battle, Ft. Wayne obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Geoff Cly testified before lawmakers and recounted his experience treating women injured by abortion providers and underscored how more medical help is needed for women involved in botched abortions.

According to Americans United for Life, a national pro-life group that promotes state legislation, abortion practitioners in eleven states are required to maintain local hospital admitting privileges.

These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

The Vanderburgh County ordinance is thought to be the first locally-passed ordinance addressing the issue.

Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life –
Indiana Legislature –

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