Indiana legislation aims to reduce abortion access

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • According to new legislation in Indian, all abortion providers at medical clinics will be required to have the authority to admit their patients to the area hospital." The net result will be a reduction in the number of providers who can perform abortions. This means it will be harder - not to mention more expensive - to find doctors willing to perform abortions. Since many doctors come in a couple to several days a week from other locations to perform the procedure, they have no relationships with the local hospitals in that region. These days getting privileges at a hospital is no easy task and it can requires mounds of paperwork, reviews, and processing fees as well as passing a credentials committee evaluation.  Nothing wrong with that - except, that doctors who won't be regularly admitting to the hospital (since they come in from another geographic region) are not going to be willing to undergo this process.  So the true (and intended) outcome will be fewer providers and closed clinics.  Of course, the groups behind these measures say their intent is to make sure that if there are complications, the doctor has the privileges to admit the patient to the hospital.  The net result - or even the true intent - is to make having access to abortions nearly impossible in those regions.

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    At least half a dozen Indiana counties are poised to try and pass this legislation at the county level.  Eighteen states already require some relationship between abortion clinics and hospitals, but Planned Parenthood of Indiana says that these ordinances are unnecessary because the state regulates medical facilities.  If providers refuse to comply with the ordinance, they could be forced to close or limit their staff to the few doctor providers from the region itself, who do have admitting privileges.  Vanderburgh County and Dubois County have already passed a proposal unanimously that requires abortion providers in the county to have privileges at local or adjacent hospitals.  These 2 counties have no abortion clinics - they just wanted to "get out ahead of it so we can prevent it."  Allen County which has an abortion clinic with a visiting doctor who comes in is considering the measure but have not yet scheduled a vote.  They are planning to include all "itinerant" procedures like laser eye surgery.

     

    When and if the vote takes place, an advocacy group, the Center for Reproductive Rights plans to challenge the action in Allen County, the only county that is voting and actually has a clinic, because they feel the ordinance would encroach on state authority.  The bottom line is that it would encroach on choice.

Published On: September 29, 2008