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Abortion-pill bill headed to governor

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill to tighten regulations for prescription drugs that cause abortions is headed to Gov. Mike Pence to sign into law.

The Senate voted 35-14 Thursday to give final approval to the legislation, authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle.

He said he received a letter from a woman urging passage of the bill “in order to protect the women of Indiana. All women deserve better than to be promised these little pills will be the answer to their problem.

“It has to do with patient safety.”

Pence already said he looks forward to signing the bill.

Senate Bill 371 prohibits the abortion drugs from being given to a woman more than nine weeks pregnant, would require clinics to provide information on the dangers of abortion-causing drugs, and would offer women the option of viewing an ultrasound or hearing the fetal heart tone.

The measure also requires clinics giving out RU486 or other similar drugs to meet the same facility standards as sites providing surgical abortions. Doctor’s offices would be exempt from the provisions, even if those physicians sometimes prescribe abortion pills.

The only clinic affected is a Planned Parenthood center in Lafayette that provides chemical abortions but not surgical ones.

State records show that 4 percent of Indiana’s 10,514 abortions in 2004 were drug-induced, and that grew to 18 percent of 9,112 abortions in 2011.