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Near-total abortion ban takes effect in Indiana: “My patients are being stripped of human rights”

A sweeping new abortion ban went into effect in Indiana Thursday, outlawing the procedure with limited exceptions. The state was the first in the nation to pass legislation after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. 

Most of the lights are now off at Women’s Med, an Indianapolis abortion provider. The clinic is among two Indiana providers slated to close, while the state’s five remaining clinics will offer limited health care. 

“I am so mad,” said Dr. Katie McHugh, who works at the clinic. “As a physician, I get mad because insurance companies deny claims. I’m not normally mad because my patients are being stripped of human rights.” 

McHugh says patient volume doubled at Women’s Med as more restrictive abortion laws were passed in neighboring states. Indiana is now one of 13 states who have either implemented a near-total ban or outlawed abortions after six weeks. 

“We were able to support the states around us and take their patients and provide the care that they needed,” McHugh said. “That happened until yesterday.”

Sue Liebel, director of state affairs and Midwest regional director for the group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, praised the new restrictions. 

“Now it’s back in state hands,” she said. “It’s going to be messy. It’ll be different in every state, but it’s closer to the people, closer to the will of the voters.” 

Women’s Med will now send Indiana patients to its sister clinic in Dayton, Ohio, more than 100 miles away. On Wednesday, a county judge temporarily restored Ohio’s abortion access up to 22 weeks. 

“In the short term, I see incredible harm,” McHugh said. “I see so much harm on these populations that will not be able to access abortion care. And I think about the generational damage that will be done to these patients and their families.” 

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