I hand delivered this letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence this morning on behalf of the HAPA coaliiton of which I am the president:
Dear Governor Pence:
Since 1989, HAPA has advocated to strengthen reproductive health and secure access for reproductive health services while protecting the rights and privacy of individuals. Our coalition includes civic, educational, religious, professional, and health organizations from all over the state of Indiana.
We ask you to do the right thing for Indiana and veto this harmful bill.
Women should be accorded the dignity to make their own choices about their health care and their privacy should be respected. This dignity and respect is being undermined as lawmakers chip, chip, chip away at a woman’s access to a legal and safe abortion. Since 2011, state lawmakers across the country have passed more than 280 restrictions on safe, legal abortion. Indiana is one of four states that accounted for 1/3 of these restrictions.
House Bill 1337 places even more burden on women who are already facing a difficult decision and it invades the privacy of these individuals. Only four of Indiana’s 92 counties have abortion providers. HB 1337 creates additional time and cost barriers by requiring women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound 18 hours in advance. Many women must travel long distances, miss work, and find child care for their children since 1/3 of women seeking an abortion in Indiana have had at least two prior births.
HB1337 also jeopardizes the private information of abortion providers by unnecessarily placing protected abortion facility licensure documents (admitting privileges and back-up agreements) into the public purview by distributing to all hospitals in the county/contiguous county without any patient safety benefit/reason. This serves only to marginalize and professionally stigmatize abortion providers and opens them to harassment and potential violence.
Adding SB 313 as an amendment (abortion ban due to disability/sex) creates an intimidating environment where doctors are urged to read their patient’s minds and patients are potentially afraid to have open and honest conversations with their physicians. Should a disability be detected during a pregnancy, it is not the government’s right to require a woman to carry that pregnancy to term and/or to tell a doctor how to handle the situation. Since no evidence suggests sex-selected abortions are a problem in the United States, this bill is also an unneeded use of time and resources.
We ask you to respect the dignity of women to make their own choices by not allowing this harmful bill to be law in Indiana. Please don’t add more cumbersome burdens for women who are facing what should be a very private decision more difficult.
Please veto HB 1337
Health Access & Privacy Alliance (HAPA)
AAUW Muncie, AAUW of Indiana, AAUW Indianapolis, League of Women Voters – Bloomington/Monroe, League of Women Voters – Muncie/Delaware, League of Women Voters – Greater Lafayette, League of Women Voters – Indiana, SEIU Healthcare IL/IN/MO/KS, PPINK Indiana/Kentucky, Center for Inquiry-Indiana, Indiana NOW, ACLU of Indiana, Central IN Jobs with Justice, Jewish Community Relations Council, AAUW – Indianapolis, National Council of Jewish Women, Indianapolis NOW, Indy Feminists, Indiana Chapter Americans United for Separation of Church and State, IN Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Congregation Beth El Zedek, Backline/All Options.
Health Access and Privacy Alliance (HAPA) is a coalition of civic, educational, religious, professional, and health organizations from all over Indiana working together to improve access to healthcare and protect reproductive justice in Indiana. We believe bills affecting reproductive health should meet certain requirements: Does the stated purpose of the bill reflect its true intent? Does it address a true health care need according to the prevailing science? Will it help or hurt individuals? And will it have a negative impact on certain groups in our society? These themes of Honesty, Health, Compassion, and Justice guide our positions on proposed legislation.
Reba Boyd Wooden
350 Canal Walk, Suite A
Indianapolis, IN 46202