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Recent Pro-Choice Victories Not Expected To Change Lower-Than-Average Number Of Indiana Clinics

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky

Indiana currently has six clinics, in four counties, providing elective abortions. That means only about four percent of counties have abortion providers—less than the average of 11 percent nationwide. But despite recent victories for the pro-choice movement, that’s unlikely to change.

Pro-choice advocates in Indiana celebrated two recent court decisions blocking certain laws limiting abortion access. The first decision, by the U.S. Supreme Court, struck down a law that required Texas clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The second, in an Indiana federal court, stopped a state law that would have banned abortions based on a fetus’s disability or race and required aborted fetuses to be cremated or buried.

While the rulings may indicate a friendlier environment for abortion providers, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky CEO Betty Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky CEO Betty Cockrum says they’re unlikely to have an effect on changing the small number of clinics in Indiana.

“You can’t overlook the continued existence of all the burdensome regulations that exist and how difficult it is to operate a center,” she says.

Cockrum says Indiana still has many laws she calls restrictive. For example, the state still has laws requiring a clinic to have admitting privileges at a hospital in the same or an adjacent county. Another law, which requires providers to perform an ultrasound before an abortion, is being challenged in a federal district court.

Cockrum says until those are addressed, it’s unlikely more clinics will open.

“It’s looking at potential for repeal and successful repeal,” she says. “If that doesn’t improve, then it’s business as usual.”

Three abortion clinics in Indiana have closed in as many years. All were run by the same operator, who was judged to be violating several state laws—including the ultrasound provision.

Cockrum says such clinics are unduly put under the microscope and calls many of the laws being cited in the closures unnecessary in the first place. 

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