The Indiana Legislature on Wednesday sent a bill to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk that would require medical providers who treat women for complications arising from abortions to report detailed patient information to the state.
Though the bill is not as expansive as Indiana abortion laws passed in recent years — some of which have been thrown out in court — the debate has unfolded along familiar lines. 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.
“It’s couched (like it’s) about public safety when all it is is a way of shaming and stigmatizing women,” said Democratic Indianapolis Senator Jean Breaux, as reported by The Washington Post.
The group Indiana Right to Life, on the other hand, tweeted that they looked forward to the governor “signing this historic legislation.”
A Holcomb spokeswoman would not say whether the Republican governor will sign it, though last year he signed an abortion restrictions bill dealing with parental notification that has since been blocked from taking effect while it is challenged in court.
“This bill was not a part of the governor’s legislative agenda this session. As with all bills that arrive at his desk, the governor will review this one carefully before deciding whether or not to sign,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson.
The measure passed Wednesday by the Indiana Legislature would require doctors, hospitals, and abortion clinics to report to the State Department of Health each instance in which a patient suffers from any in a wide range of medical complications.
That includes serious medical conditions — like kidney failure, cardiac arrest, hemorrhaging and blood clots — as well as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
It also mandates that a woman suffering from an abortion complication must have additional personal information reported to the state. Some of that is already collected, but under the bill, it would be required by law to report details such as woman’s age, race, how many children she has if any of their children have died and how many abortions they’ve had in the past.
Another provision requires any abortion clinic be inspected at least once a year, with further inspections allowed if a complaint is made. Clinics must also report if an employee has been convicted of a felony, or if an owner or staff member worked at another abortion clinic closed “as a result of an administrative or legal action.”