INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's new ban on abortion takes effect in just over five weeks.
In the meantime, abortion providers say they are seeing high demand for services. But that demand will end September 15th.
A doctor raised and trained in Indiana who is now preparing to take her practice elsewhere. Dr. Katie McHugh is an OBGYN who says she is almost exclusively providing abortion care right now because of the high volume of patients coming from other states and women in Indiana seeking abortion access before the new ban takes effect.
McHugh says she performs abortions at Planned Parenthood and other clinics in Indiana.
"We will continue to provide compassionate and evidence-based care for these people until the last possible moment,” said McHugh. “We've expanded our access. We've expanded our hours and our appointment times, etc. so that we can try to accommodate this need."
The new law passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed by Governor Eric Holcomb August 5 will close abortion clinics starting September 15 unless they are run by a hospital.
McHugh will likely move her practice to Illinois, where abortion remains legal.
"Being faced with the need to leave the state in order to feel that I am a full citizen, and that my profession that I live and breathe every day, that I trained for in Indiana and had every intention of staying in Indiana for my entire career - this is devastating,” said McHugh. "It is so hard to be told by your state that you are not good enough. You are not enough to stay here. Your profession that was invested in by the state and my training here is not worth protecting. It is not worth keeping in our state. This is devastating."
Indiana's law bans abortion except for rape or incest up to 10 weeks after fertilization, for lethal fetal anomalies, and for a serious health risk or to save the pregnant woman's life. That last exception has doctors concerned about their medical advice facing criminal scrutiny.
"The legal interpretation of the abortion ban is very much yet to be determined,” said McHugh. “It will be up to individual legal teams within hospitals and policymakers within hospital systems to decide how imminent the death is before a person can intervene and perform an abortion to save that person's life.
McHugh says banning abortion affects every facet of health care because pregnancy has far-reaching implications on a woman's overall health and her future. She plans to keep providing abortions as an option for women, outside Indiana, after September 15.