Nebraska Senator Introduces Bill to Stop Webcam Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 18, 2011   |   1:12PM   |   Lincoln, NE

It’s official. Lincoln Sen. Tony Fulton has introduced his bill to ensure the controversial practice of telemed abortions don’t cross state lines from Iowa to Nebraska.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, in Iowa, has started a process that the national Planned Parenthood abortion business wants to take nationwide over the next few years. It calls for women to engage in a Skype video chat with a physician, who pushes a remote button and opens a box at a Planned Parenthood office where a staffer can give the dangerous drug to women.

The practice prevents women from seeing a doctor in person before using the abortion drug and it has drawn complaints from pro-life groups because they say it puts women’s health at risk by not allowing them an in-person examination before taking a drug that has killed more than a dozen women, seven in the United States, and injured more than 1,100 alone in the U.S., according to 2006 FDA figures.

The process has been used more than 2,000 times in Iowa to get the abortion drug to women, but Fulton told the Lincoln Journal Star he doesn’t want the abortion business, which also operates in Nebraska, to use the telemed abortion process in his state.

“Before they have the opportunity to do it (in Nebraska), we’d like to enact this law,” Fulton said. “For the safety of the mother, it is not unreasonable to ask the doctor to be present.”

The bill would prevent a doctor from prescribing the abortion drug without being physically present with the woman at the time of the dispensing of it. It also calls on abortion centers to attempt to ensure women taking the abortion drug come back for a followup to ensure the abortion was completed and the drug did not cause any medical problems.

Jill June, the president of the abortion business, said Planned Parenthood has no plans to begin using the webcam abortion process in Nebraska.

Nebraska Right to Life Executive Director Julie Schmit-Albin told today her group strongly supports the legislation, calling it a “priority for Nebraska Right to Life because of the immediate threat,” and she said she doesn’t buy the argument that Planned Parenthood doesn’t plan to use the process in Nebraska.

“Do they seriously think we will buy that Iowa is the only place this is going to happen for some time,” she asked. “Planned Parenthood will be down I-80 in Nebraska as fast as they can get set up in our smaller college towns.”

She said June has changed her argument from one used a few weeks ago where she said pro-life groups wanted to hinder or regulate the use of telemed abortions in Nebraska.

“Planned Parenthood’s future depends on gaining access and web cam chemical abortions are not costly endeavors for them.  They can spread with less concern about botching surgical abortions,” Schmit-Albin said. “Bottom line, web cam chemical abortions are the future for Planned Parenthood and any infringement on their ability to spread across our state will met with a vociferous attack on pro-life organizations and legislators as wanting to control womens’ reproductive health.” [related]

“So they’re basically back to their same old arguments but the problem for Planned Parenthood is that technology changes everything.  Just as ultrasound created a window into the womb and fetal surgery highlighted that babies feel pain, people will understand that technology should be used for good, not harm,” she added.

Fulton told the newspaper he expects abortion advocates will claim the bill interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, even though women have never met the abortion practitioner before the abortion.

“There is no doctor-patient relationship here,” he said, adding that the bill is targeting abortion, and not the legitimate practice of telemedicine in general.