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Indiana Senate panel backs limits on abortion pill

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An Indiana Senate committee on Wednesday approved a proposal to tighten laws on how women can receive the so-called abortion pill even though doctors testified that the measure mandates prescription of a more dangerous higher dosage.

The Senate health committee voted 5-4 in support of the bill that requires that a doctor examine a woman in person before giving her RU-486, provide written information about the physical risks of abortion and to schedule a follow-up ultrasound for her two weeks later. Doctors who don't follow those steps could face a misdemeanor criminal charge if the proposal becomes law.

Supporters said such requirements are meant to help protect the health of the women because of the potential risk of heavy bleeding and other side effects in the days after the drug is taken.

The bill also requires doctors to follow federal Food and Drug Administration guidelines for administering the drug.

Dr. John Stutsman, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and an Indiana University medical professor, told the committee that those FDA guidelines issued in 2000 call for a 600-milligram dose, while studies since then have found a 200-milligram dose is sufficient.

He said the higher dosage requirement would increase the chances of side effects and that he was against setting into law specifics of how doctors should treat their patients.

Bill sponsor Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, said he would talk with doctors and others about changing the dosage requirement in the proposal before it is considered by the full Senate.

Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville, who joined the committee's three Democrats in voting against the bill, said she believed the proposal wrongly intervened in the doctor-patient relationship and didn't think the proposal improved patient safety.

The abortion pill proposal follows the Republican-dominated Legislature's passage last year of law aimed at cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions and imposed tighter abortion restrictions. A federal appeals court is considering whether to lift a federal judge's order that was issued in June that blocked the funding cutoff.

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  • Unchecked power
    An unchecked political power is more dangerous than any economic crisis, and in this case, only serves to ignore the needs and wishes of those who they represent.

    When we elected the Republicans in 2010, I had no idea this is how they would function. Oddly enough, I thought they were going to work to better our state, not propose Creationism education reform and RU-486 dosage requirements. I won't even get started on divisive RTW issue and the mess it's made in our legislature.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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