Indiana House Passes Bill Protecting Doctors and Nurses From Being Forced to Do Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 15, 2019   |   1:53PM   |   Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana House lawmakers voted Thursday to expand conscience protections for medical workers who believe it is wrong to kill an unborn baby.

They approved state Senate Bill 201 in a 69-25 vote with a minor change, and sent it back to the state Senate for final approval, the AP reports.

The pro-life measure expands conscience protections for medical workers who have a religious, moral or ethical objection to abortion. Currently, Indiana provides conscience protections for physicians, hospital employees and health clinic staff.

The bill would add nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists to the law. It also would add a prohibition to ensure that medical providers can not be forced to prescribe, administer or dispense abortion-inducing drugs.

“We don’t check our ethical, moral or religious consciences at the door,” said state Sen. Liz Brown, the lead sponsor, according to the Northwest Indiana Times. “The intent of this bill is to protect those people who aren’t currently protected.”

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The legislation comes amid concerns about a rise in drug-induced abortions in Indiana and other parts of the country. In 2017, 36 percent of abortions in Indiana were chemical, drug-induced abortions, according to Indiana Right to Life.

“This law will send a message to health care providers that they can practice their profession in Indiana without making ethical concessions,” said Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “No one should be forced to participate in the deliberate ending of a child’s life. Sen. Brown’s bill extends important protections to health care providers. We’re pleased the Indiana Senate and House have passed SB 201 and we urge Gov. Eric Holcomb to sign it into law.”

Holcomb, a pro-life Republican, is expected to sign the law.