INDIANAPOLIS — Physicians and hospitals across Indiana soon may be required to submit a detailed report to the State Department of Health if a patient seeks care for a physical or psychological malady prompted by an abortion she obtained at any point in her life.
Senate Enrolled Act 340 makes it a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, for every instance where a doctor fails to file an "abortion complications" report.
Under the proposed statute, the report must contain 16 specific items, including the patient's age, race and county of residence; the type, date and location of the abortion; a list of each complication and treatment; the date of every visit to every doctor relating to the complication; and any abortion drugs used by the patient and how they were procured.
The measure employs a broad definition of abortion complication, ranging from immediate physical injury due to a surgical abortion procedure to psychological or emotional pain that arises possibly years or decades after having an abortion.
The state health department would be required to compile and publish an annual report detailing Indiana abortion complications that also would be submitted to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for inclusion in the Vital Statistics Report.
However, the names of women reporting abortion complications cannot be included in the report, according to the proposal.
State Rep. Peggy Mayfield, R-Martinsville, the House sponsor, said the measure is a reasonable way to ensure women are receiving quality care at abortion clinics and the state is made aware of any relevant complications.
"As long as the law permits, and as long as society tolerates abortion, the public has a right to expect and government has a duty and a responsibility to provide regulation," Mayfield said.
State Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, disputed that an interest in women's health is what's driving the push to require doctors of all kinds submit such an "onerous and egregious" report.
"All it is is a way of shaming and stigmatizing women about their reproductive decisions," Breaux said. "It is not about health, it's about ending women's choices."
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who describes himself as "pro-life," will decide in coming weeks whether to sign the measure into law.
National anti-abortion groups, including Americans United for Life, already have announced plans to post details of the state's abortion complications report on their websites in an effort to deter women from seeking an abortion.
Likewise, Mike Fichter, CEO of Indiana Right to Life, applauded approval of the measure: "The days of abortion businesses hiding injuries to women, or looking the other way when women are coerced into abortion, will hopefully come to an end with this important bill."
Beyond the abortion provisions, the legislation permits fire stations staffed 24 hours a day to install newborn safety devices, also known as baby boxes, for individuals to anonymously give up permanent custody of an infant that's less than 30 days old.