Nebraska’s legislature made a move yesterday toward a ban on ‘telemed abortions’ in the state. The legislature gave initial approval of a bill that would make it a felony for doctors in Nebraska to perform abortions through a remote webcam system, a program currently in use in Iowa. Kansas and Arizona have already passed legislation that will limit this service in their state.
According to the Associated Press, state Sen. Danielle Conrad, D-Lincoln, said the measure in LB 521 is not needed “because existing state health care regulations already prohibit such procedures.”
Conrad told the Lincoln Journal Star that the measure is “completely unnecessary,” and that the risks associated with medicated abortions (abortions using the medication RU 486) are no greater than those with other pharmaceutical procedures. (That argument is still under attack by the anti-abortion movement.)
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tony Fulton, R-Lincoln, told the Journal Star, that the bill is not meant to be a ban on RU 486. But according to its supporters, the bill is a pre-emptive measure to prevent “telemedicine abortions” from potentially being offered in Nebraska. While the service is not currently available in the state, Planned Parenthood offers medicated abortions in satellite clinics located in Iowa.
As reported by our sister site, The Iowa Independent, GOP and anti-abortion activists in Iowa have been discussing legislative actions to ban these services since last year.
According to Life Site News, the Kansas Senate passed a bill late last month that will “force abortion clinics to get in line with current hospital standards for outpatient surgical centers or face being shut down by the health department.” The legislation also introduced a measure that would ban “telemedicine abortions.”
Arizona also banned this service during its recently-ended legislative session with the passage of House Bill 2416, which outlaws “abortions-inducing drugs obtained by consulting a physician using telecommunication services” in the state.
As the Journal Star reports, the current version of the Nebraska bill states that a doctor violating its requirements “would be guilty of a Class IV felony, punishable by as many as five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.”