State legislation introduced to strength informed consent requirements before abortions

Jim Banks e-mail logo.

E-mail from Indiana State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City):

Sen. Jim Banks: Legislation would strengthen informed consent requirements before abortions

(January 24, 2011) – State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) today announced he’s introducing legislation requiring women seeking an abortion to be given helpful, written information about the procedure and its risks.

“I crafted Senate Bill 457 to expand Indiana’s ‘informed consent’ law which is currently inconsistent throughout the state and requires information about abortion only be given verbally to women considering the procedure,” Banks said. “I believe this legislation will help ensure Hoosier women are better educated before making this important, life-changing decision.”

Under Banks’ bill, Indiana’s Department of Health would be charged with developing materials to be provided for individuals seeking an abortion. IDOH would also publish the information online. Materials would include scientific information about the unborn child, a list of medical risks, adoption agency contact information and a list of local agencies that offer other alternatives to abortion similar to information given to those considering other medical procedures.

“Indiana’s current informed consent law is insufficient in providing women with the depth of information needed to make fully informed decisions when considering abortion,” said Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “The legislation authored by Senator Banks offers great improvement to current law and will ensure that abortion providers are held to the highest standard in delivering the information that women deserve to know.”

Currently, a woman must be told about the operation, procedure risks, gestational age of the baby and availability of ultrasound or heart beat monitoring services.

Banks said his proposal would apply today’s customary standards in the medical marketplace to provide patients with information about the procedure and expand the amount of required information to include other important criteria:

  • Potential danger of infertility and danger to a subsequent pregnancy;
  • Possible risks of infection, hemorrhage or breast cancer;
  • Physicians’ 24-hour emergency contact information;
  • Availability of follow-up care;
  • Documentation showing human physical life begins at conception; and
  • Materials citing sources who say a fetus can feel pain at or before 20 weeks of post-fertilization age.

Senate Bill 457 moves to the Senate Committee on Heath and Provider Services for consideration.

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