Nebraska Bill Banning Webcam, Telemed Abortions Passes Cmte

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 3, 2011   |   3:29PM   |   Lincoln, NE

A bill that would ban the use of webcam, or telemed abortions, has received the support of a state legislative committee and now heads to the full Nebraska Senate for consideration.

Two weeks ago, the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee failed to move the bill to the Senate floor but, today, lawmakers approved LB 521 after one senator changed from “not voting” to a “yes” vote. Senator Steve Lathrop of Omaha, Senator Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha, Senator Colby Coash of Lincoln and Senator Tyson Larson of O’Neill voted to support the legislation.

Nebraska Right to Life director Julie Schmit-Albin told after the vote that she is excited the committee moved the legislation forward. She thanked Senator Burke Harr of Omaha for switching his vote.

“After researching initial concerns he had about the bill, Senator Harr felt comfortable enough to move LB 521 to the floor for full debate and passage,” she explained.

“LB 521 would simply state that a physician must be physically present during the performance of an abortion,” Schmit-Albin said about the bill. “This would extend the standard of care regarding abortion in Nebraska to include that not only must a licensed physician perform an abortion but that the physician must be physically present during the abortion.  This would address the concerns raised by the advent of the chemical abortion drug RU-486 being administered at remote sites around the State via a Web Cam computer hook-up.”

“Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which covers both Iowa and Nebraska, implemented Web Cam chemical abortions at 16 remote sites across Iowa in 2008,” she continued. “To date, they have done over 2,000 RU-486 chemical abortions in Iowa via remote computer hook-up with the abortionist in Des Moines on one end of the computer and the patient in remote parts of Iowa on the other end. After talking with the patient, the abortionist pushes a button on his/her computer which remotely dispenses the two vials of RU-486 in a drawer at the patient’s computer.”

“This type of remote chemical abortion via Web Cam set-up, would not be legal in Nebraska under LB 521,” the Nebraska Right to Life director explained. “Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s recent announcement that they intend to expand with sites to mid-sized cities is concerning.”

The six mid-sized college cities where PPH would like to set up new centers are: Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk and North Platte.

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.

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.

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.”

ACTION: Ask your state legislators to support the bill by going to