Indiana Businesses Comply with Licensing Requirements; Why Not Planned Parenthood?

February 23, 2013

Hair styling, plumbing and auctioneering. These three industries have something in common: they all require licensing by the State of Indiana.

Licensing exists to ensure health and safety standards are met. Customers visiting businesses in Indiana expect licenses are current and basic protocols are met.

Surprisingly though, Planned Parenthood in Lafayette is doing abortions without a license. Since it’s not licensed, it’s not inspected to do abortions either.

According to termination of pregnancy reports filed with the state, Planned Parenthood did the first-ever recorded abortions in Tippecanoe County in 2010. That year they did 36 abortions. In 2011, the number jumped to 78 abortions.

Planned Parenthood’s website lists Lafayette as a medical abortion site. This means they are doing RU-486 abortions, a procedure with serious risks involved.

The State of Indiana defines abortion as “the termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus.”

There is no question that Lafayette’s Planned Parenthood is doing abortions under the state definition of “abortion.” The question we’re left with is: why is Lafayette’s Planned Parenthood not licensed as an abortion clinic?

The answer may lie in an apparent discrepancy in the state’s definition of an abortion clinic. The legal definition is, “a freestanding entity that performs surgical abortion procedures.”

Planned Parenthood is taking advantage of a conflict within Indiana law in order to expand its abortion business. Lafayette’s Planned Parenthood is the only abortion clinic in the state – that we’re aware of – operating without a license.

The revelation that abortions are occurring in Indiana without a license is very concerning.

How can women seeking abortions know basic state standards for health and safety are being met if Planned Parenthood in Lafayette isn’t licensed or inspected?

Furthermore, state law requires that certain criteria be met when abortions are performed. How can the public know if women are told about the risks of an RU-486 abortion, if abortions on girls under 14 are being reported to child services, or if local hospital admitting privilege requirements are being met, if it’s not licensed?

Unfortunately, no one knows the answer to these questions except Planned Parenthood.

Senate Bill 371, expected to be voted on in the Indiana Senate, would require any abortion facility providing only an abortion-inducing drug to meet the same requirements as other Indiana abortion facilities.

This bill needs to pass. Residents of Lafayette shouldn’t have to wonder what is going on at Planned Parenthood and women of Lafayette need to know that Planned Parenthood can prove they meet standards for basic health and safety.

If Planned Parenthood believes they already meet state requirements, we urge them to settle this publicly and apply for a license. The application is only four pages long and readily available on the Indiana State Department of Health website.

Some opposers to SB 371 claim Planned Parenthood would have to widen their doorways (a standard width in medical facilities allows a gurney to be rolled in, in the unfortunately case of a medical emergency). But we haven’t seen reports of what Planned Parenthood’s doorway width actually is. Perhaps Planned Parenthood already meets the width. The problem is, no one knows for sure. And yet, they continue to do abortions.

Planned Parenthood deserves no exemption from state licensing requirements. It’s time they get a license like hardworking barbers, plumbers and auctioneers have. Women’s health depends on it.

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