Senate Bill (SB) 1 - Abortion 

Actual Bill:

Assigned: Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure 

About this bill:

SB 1 is an outright ban on abortion. Even the bill’s limited exemptions – for survivors of rape, incest, fetal anomaly, and to save the life of the pregnant person – would leave providers risking investigations and criminalization. Providers should be able to give basic, lifesaving medical care without the fear of being sent to jail, and all people should be able to access abortion care regardless of their reason, full stop.

Overwhelming majorities across all political parties support exemptions to allow for abortion care if a patient’s life is endangered or if they are a survivor of rape or incest.

Even if a ban here allows for exemptions for rape and incest, a patient may be unable to find a provider if abortion is illegal in Indiana. Many abortion providers will move out of the state if abortion is outlawed, and the remaining providers may be dissuaded for fear of prosecution or losing their license. Even if a patient is legally entitled to abortion care, they practically may be unable to find a provider and access care.

Even if there is an exemption to allow abortion care to prevent a pregnant person’s death, the bill is vague and will have a chilling effect preventing providers from giving legal and safe care for fear of criminalization and lawsuits. Providers will have to ask themselves:

  • If a pregnant person comes in hemorrhaging, how fast do they have to be bleeding before I can intervene?
  • If someone has an ectopic pregnancy, do we have to wait until their vital signs are unstable before we can provide an abortion?
  • How septic does a pregnant person need to be before it is considered life-threatening? Do we have to wait until they are in the ICU and intubated?
  • What about my ethical obligations to act in the best interest of the patient, which means intervening before their health is even more at risk? What about my ethical obligation to respect the patient’s decisions and bodily autonomy?

In life or death situations, pregnant people do not have hours for their cases to be reviewed, re-reviewed, appealed, or decided on.

This new legislation could put providers in the position of being forced to violate their ethical duties and ignore the best interests of the patient and their own medical judgment for fear of prosecution.