Indiana Bill Requiring Admitting Privs for Abortion Practitioners Gets Conference

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana Bill Requiring Admitting Privs for Abortion Practitioners Gets Conference

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 21
, 2009

Indianapolis, IN ( — Legislation in Indiana that would require abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital is heading to a conference committee. Sen. Patricia Miller, a Republican who filed the bill in the Senate, says she doesn’t like the changes the House made to the measure.

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. The bill says abortion practitioners must have hospital admitting privileges in order to do abortions in Indiana.

The, Senate Bill 89, which cleared the House on a bipartisan 73-20 vote last week, and now it is heading to a legislative conference where lawmakers will work out the differences and craft a final version to go to the governor.

"I’d like to put the language back in its original form," Miller, who filed an objection to the House changes, told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

The bill originally required abortion practitioners to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital in the county where the abortion is done or an adjacent county.

The legislation came about because of problems in Fort Wayne, Indiana where local doctors had to take care of patients seen by out-of-state abortion practitioner George Klopfer at the Fort Wayne Women’s Health Organization.

He also does abortions in South Bend and Gary and physicians have had to care for patients who have been injured by the abortions and required hospitalizations.

Klopfer told the Journal Gazette today that the bill singles him out and he complained that no local hospitals would allow him privileges because they disagree with doing abortions.

Dr. Geoff Cly, a Fort Wayne gynecologist who has treated several of Klopfer’s patients after failed abortions, told the newspaper the bill is needed.

"I’m disappointed because patients are being harmed and the powers that be aren’t taking action to protect the women," Cly said. "How can we hold him accountable like the rest of surgeons? Admission privileges are one way. If anyone has any other ways, let me know."

Meanwhile, the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, a pro-abortion law firm, has said it may file a lawsuit against the legislation should it become law. Suzanne Novak, an attorney with the group, said some similar laws in other states have been upheld and other shave not.

She thinks the residency requirement may lead to the courts calling the bill unconstitutional.

The Senate already approved the bill on a 44-6 vote in March. Once the final version is approved, it will go to Gov. Mitch Daniels to sign or veto, though pro-life advocates expect him to sign it into law.

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.

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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