Indiana Senate panel backs 'abortion reversal' requirement

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A bill requiring Indiana doctors to tell women undergoing drug-induced abortions about a disputed treatment that could stop the abortion process is a step closer to approval in the Republican-dominated Legislature.

Posted: Mar 31, 2021 4:40 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A bill requiring Indiana doctors to tell women undergoing drug-induced abortions about a disputed treatment that could stop the abortion process is a step closer to approval in the Republican-dominated Legislature.

The state Senate’s health committee voted 7-4 Wednesday to advance the proposal, despite objections that it would force doctors to provide dubious information to their patients.

Supporters argue the bill ensures that women who take the first of the two drugs for a medication abortion then change their minds about ending their pregnancies have information about stopping the process by taking a different drug.

Dr. Christina Francis, a Fort Wayne physician who is board chair for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told the Senate committee that some studies have shown the “reversal” process can be effective. She argued that it would be “cruel” to not provide the information to the patients.

“They are not told it’s 100%, they’re told that it’s about a 70% chance that they could save their child,” Francis said.

Medical groups say the abortion pill “reversal” process is not backed up by science and that there is little information about the procedure’s safety.

Dr. Caroline Rouse, a member of the obstetrics and gynecology faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine, told senators the bill would force doctors to provide “false and misleading information.”

“Patients trust me, the physician, to provide accurate information in order to help them make the best medical decision,” Rouse said. “So-called abortion reversal does not have science behind it. It is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening treatment without sound scientific evidence and counseling my patients about it is unethical.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which has successfully blocked several anti-abortion laws adopted by Indiana legislators, has said the proposal “runs afoul of the Constitution.”

Six states already have similar requirements in place, while laws in three other states — North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee — have been blocked by legal challenges, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

The Indiana House voted 67-29 last month in favor of the bill. Wednesday’s committee vote advances the bill to the full Senate, which has a strong anti-abortion majority that has supported numerous restrictions in recent years. The Senate will likely vote on the measure next week.

Medication abortions accounted for 44% of the roughly 7,600 abortions performed in Indiana during 2019, according to the state health department’s most recent statistics.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1000163

Reported Deaths: 16309
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1347632106
Lake660041156
Allen57441793
Hamilton46100461
St. Joseph44109607
Elkhart35696507
Vanderburgh32087477
Tippecanoe27796257
Johnson24902443
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Porter22802362
Madison18614404
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LaPorte15046250
Delaware14984259
Howard14626287
Kosciusko12217147
Hancock11630175
Bartholomew11505179
Warrick11255189
Floyd11013214
Wayne10897250
Grant9964218
Morgan9404176
Boone8863116
Dubois8227130
Dearborn817093
Henry8139151
Noble7984106
Marshall7838134
Cass7499119
Lawrence7403170
Shelby7138114
Jackson694088
Gibson6533113
Harrison644491
Huntington633999
Knox6273106
DeKalb626397
Montgomery6208109
Miami589797
Putnam575377
Clinton570271
Whitley560455
Steuben554675
Wabash5279101
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Jefferson506996
Ripley495685
Adams476073
Daviess4616113
Scott435869
Greene422096
Wells420987
Clay420260
White415962
Decatur4133101
Fayette404286
Jennings385160
Posey375343
LaGrange353978
Washington353249
Randolph341999
Spencer337342
Fountain332558
Sullivan326752
Starke313369
Owen312070
Fulton306567
Orange291762
Jay280445
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Franklin264042
Carroll259132
Rush258832
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Tipton226659
Blackford190540
Pulaski181855
Crawford158623
Newton156048
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Martin137419
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