Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IN Touch: Abortion Ruse

My sixth post on The Indianapolis Star's IN Touch blog is now online. I've decided to go ahead and continue re-posting those entries here (but go ahead and visit the Star so that their advertisers can try to sell you something; newspapers are having a tough enough time these days). This post borrows a bit from the post "Keep Your Religious Doctrine Out of My State's Laws" that I posted back in January 2008. Almost everything in that prior post is still relevant today.

Despite claims to the contrary, the intent of Senate Bill 89 is to make it more difficult to obtain an abortion. Patient safety is simply a ruse. Both history and language support this conclusion. SB 89 is essentially a re-working of similar bills from previous years. Last year, language to require hospital admitting privileges for abortion providers was part of a bill that also required physicians to tell women that a fetus might feel pain (despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary) and that legislated an answer to the theological debate about when life begins. This year, the provisions were simply split into separate bills (SB 89 for hospital admitting privileges and SB90 for fetal pain and beginning of life provisions).

Moreover, if SB 89 was really about patient safety, wouldn't the language be broadly inclusive of all invasive outpatient procedures rather than being limited to abortion? It is worth asking whether doctors performing other types of surgical or semi-surgical procedures at outpatient clinics around the state must also have admitting privileges. If a plastic surgeon performs liposuction or an ophthalmologist performs a LASIK procedure at a rural clinic, must those doctors have admitting privileges at the county's hospital? What about an oral surgeon performing a root canal?

The list of procedures performed at outpatient clinics is long and many are more dangerous than abortion. Yet, so far as I am aware, in none of those other instances must the doctor have hospital admitting privileges. Furthermore, if patient safety were the goal, wouldn't there be an exception for emergency situations where the life of the woman was in jeopardy?

In essence, SB 89 is simply another thinly disguised attempt to keep abortions legal while making them impossible to obtain.

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