Yesterday, the Indiana Senate health committee voted 5 to 4 to further restrict women’s access to RU-486, or the abortion pill. If the bill passes, doctors would be required to conduct an in-person examination of a woman before prescribing the abortion pill, as well as give her written information of the risks of an abortion and perform a follow-up ultrasound two weeks later. Doctors who fail to comply could face misdemeanor charges.
The bill also requires that doctors follow FDA guidelines recommending that doctors prescribe a 600 milligram dose of the drug, even though studies have found 200 milligrams of the drug to be adequate. Dr. John Stutsman, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and a professor at Indiana University, indicated that the higher dosage would increase the possibility of side effects for the woman.
The Associated Press reports that mifepristone is currently used in about 15 percent of abortions in the United States. Marketed as Mifeprex in the United States, the drug provides women with more privacy than a surgical procedure does because women are able to take the pill home. Mifepristone has also increased the accessibility of abortion. Among Planned Parenthood’s 322 clinics nationwide that provide abortion, almost half administer mifepristone, but do not offer surgery.
National Partnership for Women and Families 1/26/12; Associated Press 1/25/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/27/10