Public speaks out, Commissioners respond.
VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. - The floor opens for some heated public comment at a Tri-State County Commissioners Meeting. It centers around a controversial new ordinance passed two weeks ago. Many were not necessary upset with the ordinance itself, but the manner in which it was passed.
"I'm very disappointed in my government right now," says a local woman to her County Commissioners.
"I make no apologies for what we did. I make an apology for how we did it, but not for the actual votes," says President of the Vanderburgh County Commissioners, Jeff Korb.
County commissioners answer back to the public after they passed a controversial new law regarding abortion. There were two different issues brought up at Tuesday night's meeting: First, there's the ordinance itself which states: a physician may not perform an abortion in vanderburgh county unless the physician has admitting privileges at a hospital within the county or an adjacent county. The physician also must notify the patient of a local hospital where she can receive follow up care.
Bill Butterfield brought up idea for ordinance after Indiana Lawmakers struck down a similar law in the last session.
He tells 14 News: "If an abortion clinic is going to bring in a doctor who cannot pass the credentials of a doctor, he shouldn't be here."
Jeff Korb's comments echo that sentiment: "It's not an anti-abortion issue for us, it was a health issue."
Not everyone agreed with that. A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood in Indianapolis calls the law "unnecessary" because there are no abortion clinics currently in Southwestern Indiana. A local Right to Life spokesperson countered the claims, saying the new ordinance was "proactive."
The other issue was how the ordinance was passed in the first place. At their regular meeting two weeks ago, the word "abortion" was never mentioned, except on the agenda. It was introduced, approved and passed within one minute. People in the audience this week say they weren't aware what was being discussed then, and they made their opinions known. A few spoke with us after the meeting had adjourned.
"They know the word abortion is a loaded word. They virtually said that in there, but that should have been mentioned," says State Rep Phil Hoy (District 77).
"I really don't think it was the, the uh, the ordinance itself. For some people it may be, but for me personally, I just think it was the way the commissioners went about it," says resident Andrew Mickens, who attended the meeting.
The commissioners did apologize for the way the ordinance was passed, but still believe in it, and said they would not go back and strike it down.
Members of the public and the commissioners did agree tonight's meeting was productive. to prove that the issue was not about abortion, Commissioner Korb said he would not be opposed to taking the ordinance further to include other medical procedures.
The next meeting of the Vanderburgh County Commissioners in on September 2nd.
AN ORDINANCE CONCERNING
ABORTION PROVIDER PATIENT SAFETY
WHEREAS, the State of Indiana does not require abortion providers to have admitting privileges in any hospital; and
WHEREAS, there exists a very real and distinct possibility of adverse medical outcomes for women having abortions; and
WHEREAS, reasonable requirements for abortion providers in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, to have admitting privileges at a hospital in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, or a County adjacent to Vanderburgh County, Indiana, is in the best interest of the residents of Vanderburgh County; Indiana, and
WHEREAS, the Vanderburgh County Commissioners are empowered to protect the health and safety of the residents of Vanderburgh County; and
WHEREAS, the State of Indiana, pursuant to Indiana Code §16-18-2-1, has defined abortion as the termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus; and
WHEREAS, the State of Indiana has defined provisions for legally performing abortion procedures, pursuant to Indiana Code §16-34; and
WHEREAS, the Vanderburgh County Commissioners desire to adopt an ordinance to protect patient safety.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of Vanderburgh County, Indiana as follows:
SECTION 1. ADDITION OF A NEW CHAPTER 8.25 TO THE CODE OF
ORDINANCES OF VANDERBURGH COUNTY
Title 8 of the Code of Ordinances of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, is amended by adding a new Chapter 8.25, which new Chapter shall read as follows:
Abortion Provider Patient Safety Requirements.
Section 8.25.010 Requirement for Admitting Privileges.
Section 8.25.010 Requirement for Admitting Privileges.
A. A physician may not perform an abortion in Vanderburgh County unless the physician has admitting privileges at a hospital located:
- (1) in Vanderburgh County; or
- (2) in a county adjacent to Vanderburgh County.
B. A physician who performs an abortion in Vanderburgh County shall notify the patient of the location of the hospital at which the physician has admitting privileges and where the patient may receive follow-up care by the physician if complications arise."
SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE
This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Board of Commissioners of Vanderburgh County, and publication once each week for two (2) consecutive weeks as provided in I.C. §5-3-1.
Following a unanimous vote by the Board of Commissioners of Vanderburgh County to waive second reading of this Ordinance, it was finally passed unanimously by the Board of Commissioners of Vanderburgh County following first reading this _____ day of __________________, 2008.
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF
VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA
Jeff Korb, President
Bill Nix, Vice President
Troy Tornatta, Member
WILLIAM J. FLUTY, JR.
Vanderburgh County Auditor
APPROVED AS TO LEGAL FORM:
Ted C. Ziemer, Jr., of
Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, LLP