Indiana may make public names of doctors who treat abortion complications

Complications during abortion are exceptionally rare, but the Indiana proposal could still be dangerous

Published January 30, 2014 3:18PM (EST)

                                           (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Lawmakers in Indiana are currently considering a proposal to make public the names of physicians who treat complications related to abortion care, a move reproductive rights advocates say will lead to dangerous harassment of doctors.

“The one biggest remaining concern is the potential for the backup physicians to be named publicly,” Betty Cockrum, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said in a statement after the Wednesday hearing on the measure. “We know what that means. And it’s not pretty.”

"Not pretty" may be an understatement. As Cockrum's colleague testified during the hearing, a protester in Bloomington recently brought an ax to a reproductive health clinic, while in other states, doctors have been murdered and clinics bombed. Abortion is an exceedingly safe procedure, with a .05 percent risk of complication, but publicizing the names of doctors who treat these cases could put them in danger of being threatened or harmed by people who do not support reproductive rights.

More on the measure from Barb Berggoetz at the Indianapolis Star:

The bill also requires that the name and telephone number of the hospital where the physician performing the abortion has admitting privileges be provided to the woman in the informed consent brochure given to her before the procedure.

Cindy Noe, representing Indiana Right to Life, said this information will assure that women who have abortions know where they can go for any follow-up care or in emergencies.

But [Democratic state Sen. Gregory] Taylor said most often if people have emergencies, they go to the nearest hospital, not the one that happens to be where the doctor has admitting privileges. He voted “no” because he doesn’t believe the bill, including naming the backup doctors, makes abortions any safer for women.

h/t Andrea Grimes

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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