Admitting Privilege Law Forces Merrillville Planned Parenthood to Suspend Abortions, but Abortion Services Resumed as of August 1st

Indiana Law Requires Abortion Doctors to Have Admitting Privileges or a to Have a Relationship with a Doctor Who Does


MERRILLVILLE, IND. – The Planned Parenthood facility in Merrillville was forced to suspend abortion procedures after losing its back-up doctor with admitting privileges, as is required by Indiana law.

Abortion doctors must maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital or have a relationship with a local doctor who can admit patients to a hospital in the same county or a surrounding county to the abortion facility. Admitting privilege laws give continuity of care for a patient in the case of a medical emergency.

In a letter dated Jul. 18, the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) informed the Merrillville Planned Parenthood that it is prohibited from doing abortions until it finds a new back-up doctor and the appropriate paperwork is filed with the ISDH to certify the relationship between the local doctor and the abortion facility.

The Post Tribune reported on August 1st that Planned Parenthood of Merrillville had found a doctor with admitting privileges to back them.  Abortion services had resumed.

Lake County Right to Life is not aware of why the previous back-up doctor for Merrillville Planned Parenthood terminated his or her relationship with the facility. We also do not know the name of the new back-up doctor.

“Our thanks go to our Indiana legislators for passing the admitting privilege law and to then Gov. Mike Pence for signing it,” stated Len Reynolds, President of Lake County Right to Life. Admitting privilege laws are health and safety measures that ensure women are aided in the most expedient manner during an emergency. Admitting privileges can make a life or death difference when minutes matter.

One of Merrillville’s abortion doctors is Mandy Gittler. One only has to look back at Gittler’s record as recently as 2012 to see how quickly emergencies can arise during abortion procedures. In July 2012, Gittler did an abortion on a 24-year-old woman,  Tonya Reaves, at a Chicago Planned Parenthood. Gittler sent Reaves to the hospital following her abortion, where the young woman was later pronounced dead in the operating room. An autopsy determined Reaves’ death was due to a perforated uterus.

“There are numerous other pregnancy centers to assist women experiencing crisis pregnancies,” according to LCRTL Vice President Lynne Scherschel. “We urge any woman considering an abortion in Northwest Indiana to contact The Women’s Care Center at (219) 554-1774 or The Women’s Center of Northwest Indiana at (219)-663-5311.  These centers offer free support, including pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.

Additional low-cost medical services are also offered to women in need by The St. Claire Clinic and Prenatal Assistance Program of Crown Point, and the Catherine McAuley Clinic of Hammond.”