A bill headed to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk this week will protect women by increasing health and safety checks at abortion facilities across the state.
The state Senate gave its final approval of the legislation Wednesday in a 37-9 vote, and sent it to the pro-life governor for his signature, according to The Journal Gazette.
Indiana Senate Bill 340 will require annual inspections of abortion facilities and increase reporting requirements when patients experience complications from an abortion. It also will allow fire stations, which serve as safe havens, to install insulated baby boxes to protect newborn infants from abandonment.
Legislators also included language to help ensure abortion facilities are reporting suspected patient abuse, whether by a partner, parent or human trafficker. The provision likely is a direct result of former South Bend abortionist Ulrich Klopfer who was forced to close in 2015 after he allegedly failed to report suspected rapes of several teen girls to authorities.
Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter praised the legislation after the House passed it in late February.
“The days of abortion businesses hiding injuries to women, or looking the other way when women are coerced into abortion, will hopefully come to an end with this important bill,” Fichter said.
“The inclusion of safe haven baby boxes in this bill will be key to saving the lives of babies who might otherwise be at-risk of dying as a result of abandonment. We are thankful for those who took the lead on this issue years ago and have steadfastly moved this idea forward,” he continued.
Abortion activists lobbied against the new safety measures.
Supporters said it’s necessary to make sure abortions are performed safely.
Opponents, meanwhile, argued it would allow big-government meddling in personal affairs, while miring medical providers — and not just abortion clinics — in bureaucratic red tape. They also note abortions have a low complication rate and question why the same reporting requirements aren’t mandated for other medical procedures.
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“It’s couched (like it’s) about public safety, when all it is is a way of shaming and stigmatizing women,” said Democratic Indianapolis Sen. Jean Breaux.
The bill also passed the state House with strong support in late February.
Indiana Right to Life explained the details of the new legislation:
Complications required to be reported include uterine perforation, cervical perforation, infection, hemorrhaging, respiratory arrest, shock, or incidents in which parts of an aborted baby are left within the woman. The report must also include any indication that the woman treated was seeking an abortion as a result of abuse, coercion, harassment or trafficking.
The bill also tightens the process for abortion licensing in Indiana by requiring that applicants disclose whether it has operated an abortion clinic that was closed due to health and safety concerns, whether a principal or staff members has been convicted of a felony, and whether a principal or staff member was ever employed by a facility owned or operated by the applicant that closed as a result of administrative or legal action.
A Texas-based abortion chain currently is trying to open in South Bend, Indiana. Whole Women’s Health has a shoddy reputation, including dozens of health and safety violations at its Texas facilities.
The Indiana Department of Health refused to give the abortion chain a license in January; it said the abortion chain made “inaccurate statements” and “failed to meet the requirement that the Applicant is of reputable and responsible character.” However, Whole Women’s Health is appealing the decision.