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Once Indiana's abortion ban goes into effect, most patients seeking abortions will have to travel beyond its borders

Alexandra Kukulka, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Political News

When Indiana’s near-total abortion ban goes into effect on Sept. 15, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Merrillville — and its 10 other facilities in Indiana — will remain open to provide “critical health care services outside of abortion,” but patients seeking abortion care will likely have to go out of state.

“We provide a whole range of critical health care services outside of abortion, including birth control, emergency contraception, gender affirming hormone care, wellness visits, and more. Our 11 health centers in Indiana will continue to provide those services, in addition to providing any care we can to those looking for an abortion,” said Nicole Erwin, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates.

Under the ban, abortions will only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, and to protect the life and health of the mother. Victims of rape and incest have up to 10 weeks to get an abortion. GOP state Sen. Sue Glick estimated that the bill would outlaw 98% of abortions in the state.

Abortion clinic licenses will terminate when the law goes into effect, so abortion care will only be allowed at hospitals and ambulatory outpatient surgical centers that are owned by hospitals. Currently, only about 1% of abortion care is provided outside of an abortion clinic, Erwin said. Last year, only six hospitals in the state performed abortions of any kind, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Franciscan Health does not provide abortion care because it is “a Catholic health care system,” said Lauri Keagle, communications and media relations specialist for Franciscan Health Northern Division.

“We believe the gift of life is so valued that each person should be cared for with joy, respect, dignity, fairness, and compassion that he or she is consciously aware of being loved. We are grateful for the Supreme Court’s recent ruling because we always celebrate life and protect it at every stage,” Keagle said.

 

Methodist Hospitals did not respond to requests for comment.

Alison Case, a family medicine doctor in South Bend who has been providing abortion care for the last two years, said if a patient of hers requests an abortion after Sept. 15 she will have to refer the patient out of state, like Illinois or Michigan. In Northwest Indiana, Case said, patients will likely be referred to Chicago.

If the patient meets the criteria of the new law, Case said she will have to refer the patient to a hospital.

“It makes me really sad. It makes me really angry. The whole point of becoming a doctor is that you’re trying to do something where you can help people, and now the state has said that I can’t do my job. I have to follow these guidelines that have absolutely no basis in medicine and put a person through a whole ordeal for no medical reason,” Case said.

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