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The Journal Gazette

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Thursday, March 08, 2018 1:00 am

General Assembly

Abortion clinics bill on to governor

Would require inspections, data on parents

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Abortion clinics would face more regulations and some fire departments could add baby boxes under a bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 340 passed 37-9 with all area senators in support. It now goes to the governor for his signature.

The bill does several things, including requiring annual inspections of abortion clinics. The state does not require this for hospitals.

It also puts into state law a list of information that must be collected when an abortion is conducted, including data on the father and the mother.

“I am not at all excited about rising to oppose this bill. I'm quite frankly really very tired of having to spend time on bills that violate a woman's right to make decisions for her and her family,” said Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis.

She called the measure an egregious violation of a woman's privacy couched as a bill about patient safety.

“All it is is a way of shaming and stigmatizing women,” Breaux said.

The measure for the first time requires tracking of a wide-ranging list of possible complications from abortions, such as infection, hemorrhaging, depression and sleeping disorders. Those new reporting requirements likely won't affect abortion clinics, which generally don't provide follow-up care, but instead will be the responsibility of hospitals and family doctors.

The House also added a provision on baby boxes, sometimes called newborn incubators. It allows fire stations that are staffed around the clock to have baby boxes. Last year, hospitals were allowed to do so, though none have. Two existing fire station boxes were grandfathered in Woodburn and Michigan City. One child has been dropped off using the box and has now been adopted.

The heated, cooled and padded boxes are attached to buildings and have an alarm that goes off when a baby is placed in one. They must be inspected monthly.