INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s abortion numbers rose dramatically in 2017 following U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt’s decision to enjoin Indiana’s ultrasound law.
The increase of 496 abortions in 2017 compared to 2016 marks the first upward swing in abortions in Indiana since 2009, according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s newly-released 2017 Induced Terminated Pregnancy Report.
Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Act, signed into law by then-Gov. Mike Pence in 2016, contained a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion must be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound provision was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood in July 2016 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruling. The law remained in effect until Pratt’s injunction in April 2017.
From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 3,317 abortions in Indiana. During the same period of July through December 2017, after the blockage of the law, abortions spiked to 3,813 in Indiana, a 13 percent increase compared to 2016.
A significant portion of the increase was due to a massive 33 percent increase in women from out of state coming to Indiana for abortions. In 2017 there were 296 abortions on out of state women compared to 222 in 2016.
In total, there were 496 more abortions done in Indiana from July through December 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. When considering the overall annual increase in abortions in 2017 was 498 compared to 2016, the impact of the blockage of Indiana’s ultrasound law is clear.
“Activist judges blocked Indiana’s ultrasound requirement in early 2017 and now we’re paying the price in rising abortions,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life.
“Planned Parenthood and its allies run to the courts every time our legislators pass laws that could jeopardize their lucrative abortion business. In addition to the ultrasound requirement being blocked, we’ve seen activist judges over the last two years block multiple laws including parental notification when a minor daughter seeks an abortion, dignified disposal of aborted babies, the mandated reporting of botched abortions that injure women, and even Indiana’s ban on abortions for the sole reason of the child’s sex, race, national origin, or Down syndrome. We can only imagine how many lives would have been spared if these laws had been able to take effect.”
Indiana’s abortion numbers show that chemical abortions continue to rise sharply, despite serious risks to women’s health. In 2017, a reported 2,805 chemical abortions made up 36 percent of abortions. In 2016, the reported 1,919 chemical abortions made up 26 percent of abortions. The overall increase in chemical abortions in 2017 compared to 2016 is 886 abortions, or 46 percent.
The rise in chemical abortions may be the result of new FDA guidelines, revised in 2016, expanding use of the two-drug abortion process from 49 days to 70 days.
“We are heartbroken that the continued blockage of good laws by activist judges is leading to more deaths in Indiana,” stated Fichter. “We urge Attorney General Curtis Hill to appeal the activist judges’ rulings, all the way up to the Supreme Court if needed. Indiana’s legal battles over common sense pro-life laws underscore the need for a solid, Constitutionally-minded replacement to retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.”
The full state abortion report is available at www.in.gov/isdh/files/2017%20Indiana%20Terminated%20Pregnancy%20Report.pdf