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Proposal to give pregnant teens control over own health care moves forward, with some changes

Posted at 1:10 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 13:10:30-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A proposal that could change the way pregnant Indiana teenagers receive health care is once again moving forward at the statehouse, but with a few changes.

Under current Indiana law, a pregnant 16- or 17-year-old needs her parent or guardian to sign off on routine care related to their pregnancy.

Republican Jean Leising introduced a bill in the Indiana State Senate to change that, but it failed after 25 senators voted against it.

A House version of the same bill just passed the Senate unanimously. What was the difference?

In the House bill, doctors would have to make an attempt to contact the teen’s parents before performing the care.

This change eliminates the concern some lawmakers had about the initial bill – it could be taking involved the parents out of the equation.

Leising said the change actually makes for a “better bill.”

"For the girl who was just afraid to talk to her parents, this actually helps because the doctor is actually asking the parent to come or be involved,” Leising said. “But we have to recognize that there are some young ladies out there without a supportive family, we need to make sure that they have the best outcomes they can with their pregnancy for both themselves and the baby."

Leising believes the bill will soon head to the governor’s desk to sign.