October 1, 2012 — Indiana legislators are considering rewriting the definition of an abortion clinic to include facilities that offer medication abortion, the AP/South Bend Tribune reports. The current state law defines an abortion clinic as a facility that provides surgical abortion and requires the facilities to obtain special licenses.
The discussion about the definition of an abortion clinic follows recent accusations by Indiana Right to Life that a Planned Parenthood of Indiana clinic is violating the licensing law by administering medication abortion. Of the six private facilities and four Planned Parenthood clinics that offer abortion services in Indiana, PPI's Lafayette location is the only one that offers medication abortion but not surgical abortion.
Betty Cockrum, PPI president, said there is no dispute "that a medication abortion is in fact an abortion," but the law clearly defines an abortion clinic as a freestanding clinic that offers surgical abortion.
Cockrum and Mike Fichter, president and CEO of IRTL, expect state lawmakers to consider the issue in early 2013. IRTL also is seeking legislation to restrict the use of telemedicine in administering medication abortion.
Nearly one in five abortions in Indiana in 2010 were drug-induced, according to the state Department of Health.
Indiana is one of four states -- along with Louisiana, Maryland and Missouri -- that clearly limit abortion clinic restrictions to facilities that perform surgical abortions, said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute. Laws in five additional states are ambiguous, she added.
In total, 39 states have laws that restrict use of medication abortion in some way (Wilson, AP/South Bend Tribune, 9/30).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.