Indiana Is About To Pass An Ultra-Restrictive Abortion Law
Texas isn’t the only state that is trying to limit a woman’s right to her own body.
Last week, Indiana’s state legislature passed HB 1337, a bill that will severely restrict access to abortions in Indiana, and it’s now on its way to Governor Mike Pence’s desk. Like the Texas bill that is currently in front of the Supreme Court (and completely condemned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg), HB 1337 proposes to establish several TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) rules that would, in effect, shut down all but a few clinics that offer abortion services, and make abortion procedures even more costly for pregnant women and facilities.
Among many regulations, HB 1337:
Prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because of: (1) the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or (2) a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.
This provision is complicated because (1) It is not the business of anyone but the individual woman as to the reason for the abortion, and (2) It means that a woman’s motive has to be proven before the abortion can be performed. If a physician has any reason to believe the woman is seeking an abortion because of the child’s race, sex, or mental handicap, she can be turned away. It doesn’t matter if she was raped, or if the child’s life would be severely limited or impaired.
The bill goes on to require that
Pregnant women considering an abortion must be given the opportunity to view the fetal ultrasound imaging and hear the auscultation of the fetal heart tone at least 18 hours before the abortion is performed and at the same time that informed consent is obtained.
So, not only does this hypothetical woman in Indiana who has made this difficult decision have to prove she is not having an abortion because of the race/sex/mental state of the fetus, but she must now be forced to listen to the heartbeat of that fetus and have an ultrasound (a procedure not wholly covered by insurance), after which she will be forced to see the fetus. After that emotional and costly ordeal, she must wait 18 hours before she can have the abortion. Which leads us to a TRAP (literal and figurative) for both abortion-seekers and abortion clinics: HB 1337:
Provides that a written agreement between a physician performing an abortion and a physician who has written admitting privileges at a hospital in the county or contiguous county concerning the management of possible complications of the services must be renewed annually.
What are admitting privileges? Basically, hospitals keep a list of doctors and clinics that are allowed to admit patients to that hospital. The reasoning behind this TRAP is supposedly in case complications arise from the abortion procedure. Okay, that’s fair. However, given that the majority of abortions are performed by taking a pill, and abortions are safer procedures than having a routine colonoscopy, asking every clinic that offers abortions to also pay for expensive admitting privileges means that many of those clinics will not be able to run. Meaning there will be fewer clinics, and they are farther away, so that hypothetical woman from before who is waiting 18 hours for an abortion is probably doing that waiting in a hotel room that she has paid for out of pocket.
But what really slams the nail into the metaphorical coffin of Indiana abortion services is one of the last provisions HB 1337 makes, which says “a miscarried or aborted fetus must be interred or cremated by a facility having possession of the remains.”
And who do you think is paying for those services? Exactly. This woman, after being subjected to the emotional and expensive journey to her nearest abortion clinic, must now fork over even more money to the facility performing her abortion to bury or cremate the unborn fetus.
Now that the bill has reached the governor’s desk, all he has to do is sign it for this hypothetical to become a reality. It may be too late for Indiana, but women’s rights cannot continue to be stripped away like this in states that disguise oppression as protection. It is unconstitutional, and it must stop.