Indiana abortion ban goes into effect, leaving doctors to explore other options – NBC Chicago

An Indiana bill banning abortion in almost all circumstances officially went into effect Thursday, leaving doctors with the stark choice of leaving the state or maintaining clinics that can only offer reduced services.

Dr. Katie McHugh, an OB-GYN from Indiana, is removing the abortion side of her medical practice from Hoosier State after the bill takes effect.

“I feel very disenchanted and very focused as my state vilifies the trade I was trained for here,” she said. “(It) criminalizes me as a doctor providing abortion care.”

Under the provisions of the new law, abortion is prohibited at all stages of pregnancy, with a few exceptions. These include a provision that allows the procedure if continuing the pregnancy poses a serious health risk to the woman, up to 20 weeks after fertilization, according to the text of the bill.

Another provision allows for an abortion in the event that fatal fetal medical conditions are detected within this 20-week window.

Abortions can also be sought if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, but these are limited to the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Abortion clinics are no longer licensed by the state, and therefore the procedure can only be performed in a licensed hospital or hospital-owned outpatient surgical center.

The bill was passed following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade in 1973 which legalized abortion in the United States.

Protesters marched on Indiana’s State House over the summer, but the bill passed and has now gone into effect.

As a result of the bill, clinics in Indiana are now referring patients out of state, including to Illinois, but organizations like Right to Life are fighting for legislation to ban the practice.

Dr. Caroline Rouse, an OBGYN specialist at Indiana University, disagrees with this push and hopes lawmakers will reject any new legislation.

“We know that an abortion is health care. It’s certain. It can save lives,” she said.

The legal battle over the bill is still raging even after it came into effect. On Monday, a hearing is scheduled in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which would seek to overturn the ban.

“We’re in it for the long haul, like many other state vendors, and so if there are legal options and legal avenues to follow, we’ll follow them,” McHugh said.

NBC Chicago

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