2022 Special Session Recap

The 2022 Indiana Special Session came to a close earlier this month. The end of the session was capped with the passing of SB1 (Abortion bill), which was altered in the House before returning to the Senate. The bill passed via a 28-19 vote in the Senate and was signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb less than an hour later. The language becomes effective on September 15th. In the end, the bill does not accomplish what the Academy and other medical groups believe is the best for the future of healthcare in Indiana. We do not believe that the abortion debate has been put to rest for good. We forecast that there will be additional bills introduced during the 2023 Legislative Session which begins in January.

The Indiana Senate also passed SB2 which accomplishes the following:

  • Provide a $200 refund to all taxpayers;
  • The state will transfer $1 billion to the pension stabilization fund for teachers if state revenues exceed projections in 2023;
  • Establish the Hoosier Families First Fund and appropriate $45 million for maternal health;
  • Cap the state gas tax at $.295 through June 30, 2023; and,
  • Appropriate almost $30 million to a variety of child care and adoption organizations.

Below is a base-level overview of Senate Bill 1. We will continue to release updated information regarding both SB1 and SB2 in the coming weeks leading up to September 15th, when the bills go into effect. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Cole Speer.

The image above shows IAFP past president Teresa Lovins, MD, FAAFP, testifying during the Special Session.

Senate Enrolled Act 1 Overview

Lawful Abortions

  • Going forward, lawful abortions may only be provided in hospitals licensed under IC 16-21 or ambulatory outpatient surgical centers that have majority ownership by a Hospital.
  • The definition of abortion was tweaked multiple times throughout the special session; however, the version that made it into the final bill is what’s already in Indiana code. The language in SEA1 does not apply to in vitro fertilization, nor does it change the regulations around miscarriage management.

Serious health risks for the life of the pregnant woman

  • At any point during a woman’s pregnancy, an abortion is lawful if a physician determines, based on reasonable medical judgment, that the abortion is necessary to prevent any serious health risk to the woman or save the woman’s life.
  • The term “serious health risk” means that in reasonable judgment, a condition exists that has complicated the mother’s medical condition and necessitates an Abortion.
  • The term does not include psychological or emotional conditions.
  • An abortion performed before the age of viability of the fetus or 20 weeks can be performed in a hospital or ASC. An abortion performed after the viability of the fetus or 20 weeks may only be performed in a hospital.

Lethal fetal anomaly

  • Abortion is lawful if based on the professional medical judgment of the physician that the fetus is diagnosed with a lethal fetal anomaly. Lethal fetal anomaly is defined as a condition that, if the pregnancy results in a live birth, the child would not survive more than 3 months after birth.
  • The abortion must be performed before the earlier of the viability of the fetus or 20 weeks postfertilization.
  • An abortion may only be provided after viability of the fetus or 20 weeks if the lethal fetal anomaly poses a serious health risk to the pregnant woman.

Rape and incest

  • Abortion is lawful during the first 10 weeks postfertilization if the pregnancy is a product of rape or incest.
  • The woman submitting to the abortion must file her consent with the physician, however, consent is not required if the physician deems an abortion necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.
  • Consent is required for a pregnant woman under 18 years of age unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest by the minor’s parent/legal guardian/custodian.

Abortion-inducing drugs

  • The general framework for providing abortion-inducing drugs remains the same. However, these must also now only be administered in hospitals or ASCs. The requirement for physicians to have admitting privileges to perform abortions is now also required for abortion-inducing drugs.
  • Pregnant women taking abortion-inducing drugs must do so under the supervision of a physician in person at a hospital or ASC.

Reports under SEA1

  • Going forward, any physician who performs an abortion or administers abortion-inducing drugs will be required to include the reason for the abortion in the report required under IC 16-34-2-5.
  • The IN Dept. of Health’s reporting on the statistics from the above reports will now be compiled quarterly rather than yearly.
  • The Statewide Maternal Mortality Review Committee will be required to study how the changes in the state’s abortion statute affect maternal mortality in Indiana.

Enforcement of SEA1

  • SEA1 did not increase criminal penalties for physicians who perform unlawful abortions. It is still a Level 5 felony to perform an unlawful abortion. 
  • SEA1 does, however now require the Medical Licensing Board to revoke a physician’s license if, after the appropriate notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the Attorney General proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the physician performed an unlawful abortion.
  • SEA1 makes clear that under no circumstances will the pregnant mother be criminalized for having an abortion.