Nebraska Panel Fails to Move Webcam Abortion Ban Forward

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 26, 2011   |   4:00PM   |   Lincoln, NE

Despite the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee failing to vote LB 521 to the floor today, Nebraska Right to Life officials say the group will continue to press to get the bill to the floor for passage this session.

Nebraska Right to Life is concerned that the Planned Parenthood abortion business will expand its webcam abortion process into Nebraska, potentially putting women’s health at greater risk. The webcam, or telemed abortion, process has women going to Planned Parenthood for an RU 486 drug-induced abortion getting the drug from a nurse or other employee. The patient is denied an in-person consultation with a licensed physician the FDA suggests and she instead visits with the abortion practitioner via a webcam hookup.

The Planned Parenthood abortion business is beginning to use this process in Iowa and is thought to be considering expanding it to more rural and remote areas because of the expense and difficulty in recruiting abortion practitioners and getting them to all of the Planned Parenthood centers in a certain state.

Responding to the committee vote, Julie Schmit-Albin, the director of Nebraska Right to Life, told LifeNews: “We thank Senators Steve Lathrop, Scott Lautenbaugh, Colby Coash and Tyson Larsen for their yes votes in today’s Executive Committee session to pass LB 521 to the floor. We will continue to press for a meeting with Senator Burke Harr, who did not vote in today’s session. Senator Harr has raised questions about LB 521 that our National Right to Life attorney and drafter of the bill, should be able to address to his satisfaction.”

Voting against moving LB 521 out of committee were Senators Brad Ashford, Brenda Council and Amanda McGill. Schmit-Albin said the pro-life group would re-double its efforts to persuade Senators Harr and Ashford to vote to pass LB 521 to the floor.

“Current Nebraska statute requires that only a physician can perform an abortion,” said Schmit-Albin. “Because Planned Parenthood has come up with a new way of killing unborn children chemically via computer web cam, bills like LB 521 are necessary. LB 521 would add to the current statute that the abortionist must be physically present when performing or administering an abortion, either surgical or chemical.”  [related]

“Who could have contemplated when our initial abortion statutes were passed in the 1970’s that we would come to the day when unborn children are killed through chemical abortifacients such as the RU-486 abortion drug?” the pro-life advocate asked. “Because our current law doesn’t dictate that a physician must be physically present to do an abortion, chemical abortions via remote computer hook-up could spread across the State.  Already Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has announced its intention to open new sites in Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk and North Platte.   LB 521 must pass to stop Planned Parenthood from implementing the same web cam chemical abortions that they have been doing in Iowa since 2008.”

The legislative proposal would prohibit Nebraska physicians from prescribing and dispensing the abortion drug via the Internet, which Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has done in Iowa in more than 2,000 cases since mid-2008.

Last week’s announcement by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland that they intend to open new sites in six outstate Nebraska cities has made the passage of LB 521 all that more urgent, Nebraska Right to Life’s leader said.

“LB 521, the Stop Web Cam Abortions bill, directly addresses Planned Parenthood’s plans to expand across Nebraska to six of our mid-sized college towns.” said Schmit-Albin.  “The Legislature must act this year to prohibit abortionists from doing chemical abortions via computer, before Planned Parenthood has a chance to start these in rural Nebraska.”

Schmit-Albin says women who get the abortion drug without an in-person exam and visit with a physician are left to deal with any consequences alone and she pointed to stories of “young girls being sent home to hemorrhage and deliver their babies at home not knowing what to expect.”

“This isn’t about women’s access to “healthcare” but more about Planned Parenthood reaching its tentacles across the vast expanse of our state into rural areas where they have not been and inflicting a dangerous drug cocktail on women and young girls who might end up in their local emergency rooms hours away from the abortionist who started the abortion,” she said.

She said women visiting Planned Parenthood for the telemed abortions “are told by Planned Parenthood to act like they are having a miscarriage if they go into an ER after having problems at home. So the local ER doctor doesn’t even know that her problem is due to a chemical abortion.”

“How is this about improving women’s health?” Schmit-Albin asked. “It’s all about the bottom line for Planned Parenthood: money.”

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