Indianapolis, IN – Indiana lawmakers are moving quickly to pass Senate Bill 1 during this month’s special session. The bill is an egregious attack on health care in Indiana, banning abortion, criminalizing physicians, and enshrining medical misinformation in state law. With the bill progressing quickly, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates has rounded up some of its most awful components.
Senate Bill 1 is a full abortion ban with limited exceptions that is even more extreme than the bans seen in other states. S.B. 1 directly attacks abortion providers and would make it near impossible for people in Indiana to obtain abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the pregnant person is threatened. Here are three of the most extreme (and less talked about) components of the bill:
S.B. 1 threatens physicians with up to 12 years in jail if they provide abortion in Indiana. Physicians would face two level 5 felony charges – including involuntary manslaughter – with a penalty of up to 12 years in prison, if they violate provisions in the bill. This threat will make it difficult, if not impossible, for physicians to provide abortion even in cases where the patient is legally entitled to care under the exemptions. The potential of jail time and loss of medical licensure would make it nearly impossible for providers to deliver care. This policy is extremely unpopular in Indiana. A July poll shows 80% of people in Indiana believe that doctors should be able to provide abortion without fear of criminalization or being charged with a felony.
S.B. 1 spreads medical disinformation by changing the legal definition of abortion. Anti-abortion lawmakers are trying to confuse voters, patients, and providers, by legally redefining abortion and creating a medically-inaccurate distinction between abortions done for some reasons, in comparison to others. The bill creates a new legal term, “termination of pregnancy,” which cherry picks certain places where abortion care is allowed. Let’s be clear: pregnancy terminations depend on access to abortion care. This includes treatment for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy (a non-viable form of pregnancy that can be deadly for the pregnant person), and a wide range of other pregnancy complications. This redefinition is intentionally designed to confuse and mislead voters about what an abortion really is.
S.B. 1 directly attacks Planned Parenthood, making the procedure unattainable even for Hoosiers who fit the exceptions. The bill would require that any facility providing procedural abortion be a certified ambulatory surgical center (ASC), owned and operated by a hospital. This language directly attacks abortion clinics by eliminating their ability to provide procedural abortion care even in cases that fit the bill’s narrow list of exceptions. S.B. 1 renders the exemptions meaningless and makes it even more difficult for patients to access critical health care in cases where abortion could save their life.
If S.B. 1 passes, it would have catastrophic impacts on Indiana’s already dire maternal mortality crisis. Indiana faces one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, and if this abortion ban goes into effect, an estimated 1.5 million women of reproductive age and more people who can get pregnant would be cut off entirely from access to abortion care in Indiana. Banning abortion does not stop people from needing it. Nearly one in four women in America will have an abortion by the age of 45. S.B. 1 is cruel and dangerous. Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates urges all Indiana lawmakers to vote “no” on S.B. 1.
Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Serving AK, HI, ID, IN, KY, WA (PPAA) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policymakers about reproductive health issues in Alaska, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky and Washington. PPAA lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood's mission, and engages in limited electoral activities.