INDIANAPOLIS — With state lawmakers set to decide the future of abortion access in Indiana in just a few weeks, some doctors who provide birth control say they're getting more calls from their patients asking about their options for long-term birth control.
All of the patients are worried, doctors said, about an unplanned pregnancy and wanting to prevent one for as long as possible.
“I want children, but right now, I can’t afford to have children,” said a 22-year-old woman who didn’t want you to see her face or know her name, because she believes what she does with her body is a private decision.
“You don’t have a right to tell me what I can and can’t do,” she said, explaining her most recent decision when it comes to her body was to get a birth control device implanted in her arm just a few months after taking it out.
“I just wanted to take some time and let my body do its thing,” she said.
That all changed for the young schoolteacher when the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month.
“My main fear is that they’re going to go after contraception next and access to it,” she said.
She’s not the only one worried about that.
“We have definitely seen an interest and an increase in people talking about birth control,” said Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, who teaches at the IU School of Medicine. She also helps run a program that provides free birth control to Hoosiers with five clinics between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.
It’s called PATH4YOU, which stands for "Pregnancy at a Time That’s Happy and Healthy For You."
Wilkinson said more women are calling the clinics, asking about long-term birth control options.
“I hope that all these women are making those choices, because they are making the right choices for them, but it does feel that people are making hasty decisions and choices based in the environment that we’re all living in,” Wilkinson said.
Another group that is worried, Wilkinson said, is the future doctors she’s teaching, who might not get training in how to perform an abortion if state lawmakers ban the procedure here.
“They might have to travel to other states to get that training and then when they graduate and they decide to look for a job, my concern is that they won’t have an interest in staying here,” Wilkson added.
Further complicating issues of maternal mortality, said Wilkinson, in a state, already struggling with enough providers.
“We have 33 counties, which is a third of the counties in Indiana, that do not have adequate obstetrics and gynecology coverage,” she said.
The consequences of more abortion restrictions, Wilkinson believes, would be far and wide.
“I think those decisions do not belong at a statehouse,” said Wilkinson.
Neither does the 22-year-old teacher.
That’s why she made her own decision about birth control, right now, not knowing the future of the options available in Indiana.
“I’m not ready for a child,” she said.
Earlier this week, 13News spoke to an attorney who helped the National Right to Life Committee write its proposal for state abortion laws. He said the proposal would not impact access to birth control. Wilkinson said she's not convinced of that, since the law can be open to interpretation.