Indiana doctor moving practice to Illinois after abortion law goes into effect

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 8:11 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The new Indiana abortion law is forcing doctors to leave the state, including an Indianapolis OB-GYN who says she can’t continue to provide essential care for her patients.

Beginning Thursday September 15th, residents in Indiana cannot get an abortion except for cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. The procedure is only allowed to be performed in hospitals as well.

Indianapolis OB-GYN Dr. Katie McGugh is a born and raised Hoosier. She’s been practicing obstetrics and gynecology for several years in Indiana. She also perfors abortions. When the Indiana abortion restrictions go into effect Thursday, she is planning to move her practice to Illinois.

According to a survey at the IU School of Medicine, 80% of trainees said they were less likely to stay and practice in Indiana after the near-total abortion ban goes into effect. Many doctors say they don’t feel like they can give patients the healthcare they need without being able to perform abortions legally.

“With the ban on abortion access in Indiana, it has become impossible for me to practice my chosen profession which is OB-GYN. That inherently includes abortion care because we know part of a woman’s reproductive life span includes abortions,” McHugh said.

She says it was a difficult decision to leave behind her friends and family in Indiana, but she says her practice is just as important to her.

“To my fellow Hoosiers, we deserve better. We deserve to be able to make our own decisions about our bodies,” she said. “As an abortion provider and as a woman in Indiana, I am honored to provide care as much as I can. I’m also honored to help people get that care even if it means leaving the state.”

McHugh says she has applied for her medical license in several different states and will be commuting for her practice for now.

Education Coordinator for Northeast Indiana Right to Life Abigail Lorenzen says her organization has been fighting for a ban on abortion in the state for years. She says they are eager for the law to go into effect Thursday.

“It is really excited to see the abortion ban go into effect tomorrow. It has been a long fight for us,” Lorenzen said.

Our Digging Deeper team asked Lorenzen what she thought about doctors leaving the state because of the law. She says it’s something they are celebrating.

“We have really incredible pro-life OBGYNS in Indiana. To see an OBGYN who has been killing half of her patients leave Indiana is not something I’m going to cry over,” Lorenzen said. “It’s actually something to celebrate.”

Our team also asked Lorenzen about the doctors who say they’re leaving the state in order to provide healthcare for woman.

“The first thing is, abortion is not healthcare. Abortion always injures the mother,” Lorenzen said. “Woman’s lives are not in danger because of this new law.”

Stay with ABC21 for updates on this ongoing coverage.