An amended version of Indiana SB 371, a bill that would reclassify how medication abortions are provided in the state, may save those who obtain a medication abortion from undergoing two invasive vaginal ultrasounds but is still likely to result in the closure of the only medication only abortion clinic in the state.
Republican Senator Ron Alting offered an amendment to strip the mandatory forced ultrasound as a part of follow-up care after taking RU-486, instead allowing the doctor to decide for him or herself what would be the best way to determine a pregnancy was terminated—be it blood test, pregnancy test or some other method. The amendment passed with no debate and no dissent.
Patients obtaining an abortion will still be forced to undergo a forced ultrasound prior to termination, as part of the requirements of the informed consent bill still awaiting its senate vote. The amended bill will also still force the Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette, Indiana, to obtain a license as a surgical abortion center despite the fact that it does not offer surgical abortions, a move that has always been seen as an attempt to force the clinic to close.
Two other amendments to the bill, both of which would have put additional requirements on erectile dysfunction drugs and one of which would classify all clinics that offer any sort of care involving reproduction, including fertility treatments and sexual dysfunction drugs, as abortion clinics in order to point out the hypocrisy of singling out abortion services, failed to pass, or even get a debate on the floor.
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With the ultrasound-after-abortion requirement removed from the bill, advocates for reproductive rights may have a much more difficult time persuading Governor Mike Pence to veto the bill.
SB 371 will be voted on by the full senate on Tuesday.