INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is in line to become the latest of Illinois’s neighbors to restrict abortion access. This time, by giving nurse and pharmacists the right to refuse to provide any abortion-related care.
The Times of Northwestern Indiana reported this week that physicians, hospital employees and health clinic staffers already have the right to refuse being required to perform an abortion or participate in any medical procedure that results in an abortion. Senate Bill 201 would add nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists to the conscience exemption. It would also expand the definition of abortion to prescribing, administering or dispensing an abortion-inducing drug.
From the Times:
The sponsor, state Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, said all health care providers in Indiana deserve the same right to refuse to participate in an abortion that physicians and hospital employees currently enjoy.
“We don’t check our ethical, moral or religious consciences at the door,” Brown said. “The intent of this bill is to protect those people who aren’t currently protected.”
Nearly all women obtaining an abortion or abortion-inducing drugs in Indiana do so at one of six abortion clinics, including the Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky clinic in Merrillville.
Just 47 of the 7,778 abortions recorded by the State Department of Health in 2017 were completed in a hospital where a nonemployee nurse, physician assistant or pharmacist might be asked to participate in an abortion procedure.
The measure passed the Republican-controlled House Public Health Committee Wednesday on a party-line vote this week and has already passed the state Senate. The House could decide next week whether to advance the proposal to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.
This is the latest move against abortion rights in the region. Iowa also moved this week to pass a state constitutional amendment that would declare there was no right to an abortion. Last month, a judge ruled that a Missouri clinic couldn’t offer abortion services without have admitting privileges at a local hospital, leaving the state with a single clinic in St. Louis. And all of this is on top of the administration trying to remove all Title X funds from any clinic that offers or even refers women for abortion.
Meanwhile, Illinois is moving to ensure access, becoming an oasis of access in the region.