INDIANAPOLIS | Hoosier women seeking pill-induced abortions would be forced to undergo at least one —likely transvaginal — ultrasound, and clinics distributing abortion pills would have to meet strict new standards under legislation approved 33-16 by the Indiana Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 371, which now goes to the House, requires a woman undergo an ultrasound examination to determine the gestational age of her fetus before she can be given abortion-inducting pills.
The proposal does not mandate a transvaginal ultrasound, which involves a vaginal probe, but that tool is typically used for uterus imaging early in pregnancy. An abortion pill cannot be administered after 10 weeks of pregnancy.
The abortion doctor would have to set a second appointment to verify, using an ultrasound or any other test, that the pregnancy was successfully terminated. However, the woman is not required to show up for that appointment.
In addition, clinics that distribute abortion pills would have to meet the same facility and equipment standards as offices that perform surgical abortions, even if the clinic only administers abortion pills.
The sponsor of the legislation, state Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, said he had several reasons for proposing the measure including, eventually, women's health.
"I introduced this bill because of my own religious conviction and my respect for life and the health of women," Holdman said. "Heretofore, there has been no regulation of abortion-inducing drugs in the state of Indiana and there are a number of us that believe we need to have some regulation."
State Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, said it's wrong that a Senate filled with anti-regulation male Republicans would add government regulations to limit health care options for women.
"Senate Bill 371 does nothing to increase the safety for women," Breaux said. "It's regulation that imposes the moral viewpoint of a few individuals on women and couples across the state who find themselves in a difficult situation, yet who are more than capable of making health decisions for themselves."
Breaux suggested the legislation actually will decrease safety by leading women to turn to unregulated Internet pharmacies to obtain abortion-inducing drugs.
Four Republicans, including state Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, joined 12 of 13 Senate Democrats to vote against the measure. State Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, was absent.