* The Indy Star…
Today marks the day that Indiana’s near-total ban on abortion takes effect. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the new policy into law in early August after the Indiana General Assembly passed the measure during a two-week special session. […]
The new law bans abortion in most instances at zero weeks of life. The only exceptions are in the case of fatal fetal anomalies, if the life or serious health of the mother is at risk and in cases of rape and incest. Victims of rape or incest may have an abortion up to 10 weeks post-fertilization. In those instances, the physician performing the abortion will have to certify in writing that the pregnancy being terminated was the result of rape or incest. […]
Abortion care providers say it’s difficult to predict how many abortions will performed in Indiana under the new law
Last year, 8,414 abortions occurred in Indiana, according to the Indiana Department of Health’s annual pregnancy termination report. The report does not include information on how many of those abortions were performed for any of the instances allowed under the new law.
* Planned Parenthood of Illinois press release…
On the day the Indiana abortion ban goes into effect, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is proud to announce the expansion of abortion care options at its existing Champaign Health Center, 302 E. Stoughton. PPIL has renovated the health center in order to add in-clinic abortion services for the first time to its options for patients. The Champaign expansion is doubling in-clinic abortion access for Central Illinois and is providing abortion care options in closer proximity to people traveling from Indiana and SW Ohio. PPIL is working with providers from Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio to adequately staff the increase in abortion care.
“We anticipated Indiana residents losing access to abortion care, so we decided to expand our care in Champaign” said Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “Indiana’s draconian abortion ban does not stop people from having abortions, it only makes it more difficult for people to access abortion in a safe and timely manner. PPIL is dedicated to serving the patients who face the most barriers to accessing care and to ensuring that all people, regardless of their financial situation, have access to high-quality, confidential reproductive health services.”
The expansion also increases the health center’s footprint by 5,000 square feet, adding additional procedure rooms, waiting rooms, education/consultation rooms, ultrasound rooms, a recovery room, a lab, and a clinician’s office.
Since Roe fell, the Champaign health center has seen abortion patients from 11 states outside of Illinois with the largest number of patients coming from Indiana because of the close proximity to the state. Currently, 11 percent of the abortion patients seen at the Champaign health center are from Indiana. This number is expected to increase now that the Indiana abortion ban is in effect. In addition to abortion care, patients coming from Indiana are also seeking gender-affirming care and other reproductive and family planning services.
By expanding the centrally located Champaign health center to offer in-clinic abortion options, PPIL now offers in-clinic abortions at seven of its 17 health centers, all of which offer medication abortion. The Champaign Health Center continues to offer medication abortion and provides cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, gender-affirming health care, and other essential reproductive health care.
The new Indiana abortion law is forcing doctors to leave the state, including an Indianapolis OB-GYN who says she can’t continue to provide essential care for her patients.
Beginning Thursday September 15th, residents in Indiana cannot get an abortion except for cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. The procedure is only allowed to be performed in hospitals as well.
Indianapolis OB-GYN Dr. Katie McGugh is a born and raised Hoosier. She’s been practicing obstetrics and gynecology for several years in Indiana. She also perfors abortions. When the Indiana abortion restrictions go into effect Thursday, she is planning to move her practice to Illinois.
According to a survey at the IU School of Medicine, 80% of trainees said they were less likely to stay and practice in Indiana after the near-total abortion ban goes into effect. Many doctors say they don’t feel like they can give patients the healthcare they need without being able to perform abortions legally.
“With the ban on abortion access in Indiana, it has become impossible for me to practice my chosen profession which is OB-GYN. That inherently includes abortion care because we know part of a woman’s reproductive life span includes abortions,” McHugh said.
Abortion providers in Illinois believe this will bring more people into the state for the procedure, putting even more pressure on abortion providers, who are already dealing with higher demand.
“We in Illinois have been anticipating this move by the Indiana legislature and governor for weeks. We have been preparing and we are ready to meet the needs of Indianans,” said Brigid Leahy, with Planned Parenthood of Illinois Action.
Abortion providers are now expecting even more out-of-state patients coming from Indiana.
“I’m sure that adjustments are going to have to be made and it does put additional stress on the capacity of our reproductive healthcare system. We will be continuing to ramp up our capacity,” Leahy said.
* The Pantagraph…
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed two lawsuits in the past two weeks seeking to stop the ban from taking effect.
One argues that the ban violates the Indiana Constitution by infringing on the right to privacy and the guarantee of equal privileges. The other claims the ban conflicts with the state’s religious freedom law that Indiana Republicans passed in 2015 and that sparked a widespread backlash from critics who said it allowed discrimination against gay people.
The question of whether the state constitution protects abortion rights is undecided. A state appeals court ruled in 2004 that privacy is a core value under the state constitution that extends to all residents, including women seeking an abortion. But the Indiana Supreme Court later upheld a law requiring an 18-hour waiting period before a woman could get an abortion, though it didn’t decide whether the state constitution included the right to privacy or abortion.
Indiana University law professor Daniel Conkle said bringing the lawsuits so soon before the ban was set to effect made it hard to get an injunction blocking it, but that it taking effect won’t end the court fight.
* The Herald Times…
Over a hundred people gathered closely together in the lawn of the Monroe County Courthouse to hear a modified version of the Jewish ceremony Havdalah. As one member spoke a Hebrew prayer, another carefully guarded a braided candle against intruding winds.
In Jewish tradition, the ceremony separates the holy day of Shabbat from an average day. It separates rest and work, lightness and darkness, Hoosier Jews for Choice member Sue Swartz explained. On Wednesday night, vigil organizers marked this as a separation between having abortion rights and not having them.
“Through this ritual, we mark the end of an era of full rights and a transition into a darker time,” Swartz said. […]
Jess Marchbank, state programs manager at All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center, noted she was tired and sad as she stepped up to the crowd of demonstrators at the Monroe County Courthouse. In the final few days before the law was to take effect, Marchbank had fielded calls from people seeking to terminate their pregnancy before access was heavily restricted across the state. Marchbank shared some anecdotes about what it was like.
“We know that most people who need abortion are already parents. They may be suddenly struggling to provide enough diapers for their little ones or unable to afford the exorbitant cost of rent, health insurance or child care,” Marchbank said. “They’re also just people who aren’t ready to have a child for a multitude of reasons, and those reasons don’t matter. What matters is honoring their bodily autonomy.”