Indiana

'Abortion reversal' bill clears Indiana panel for 2nd time

An Indiana House panel on Tuesday approved an amended version of a measure that would require abortion providers to give women considering drug-induced abortions information on stopping the procedure midway through — even though that process is scientifically disputed.

Republican Rep. Ron Bacon's proposal would require the State Health Department to create a form with information on the potential method, including a disclaimer that no "scientifically validated medical study" confirms it is possible. Critics say the method hasn't been sufficiently vetted and shouldn't be provided to patients.

The so-called "abortion reversal" measure passed Tuesday in a 7-6 vote that exactly mirrored the original version's vote last Wednesday, with two Republicans joining Democrats in voting no.

Its return to the same panel for consideration a second time is a rare legislative step, as measures that clear committees are typically amended further on the floor of the chamber.

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In Tuesday's committee meeting, the panel approved changes to clean up the bill's language, including clarifying the "reversal" time period and requiring some redaction on forms that abortion providers send to the state if they are released to the public. Another change removes a provision that would have required abortion doctors to use an ultrasound to determine the age of the fetus — a mandate that one Democratic lawmaker had raised concerns with just ahead of last week's committee vote.

House Public Policy Committee Chairman Ben Smaltz said the proposal's return to his committee came in consultation with House Speaker Brian Bosma, a fellow Republican.

"When you identify something you think needs to be fixed, the best thing to do is suck it up and fix it," Smaltz said.

He said he was unsure if the changes will completely address concerns that came up in a private caucus with GOP lawmakers. The measure now moves to the full House for consideration.

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The two Republicans on the panel who again voted against the measure, Reps. Edward Clere and Sean Eberhart, said after Tuesday's vote that they could not support a measure that doesn't have scientific evidence to back its claims.

"We don't direct any other health care provider to distribute information that lacks an established basis in science or doesn't meet a peer-reviewed research standard," Clere said.