Nebraska Lawmakers Approve Webcam Abortion Ban, Consent Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 19, 2011   |   11:54AM   |   Lincoln, NE

Nebraska lawmakers on Wednesday approved two pro-life bills — a measure that would ban the use of webcam abortions in the state and one requiring parental consent before a minor can get an abortions.

On a 34 to 9 vote the Nebraska Legislature initially approved LB 521, the Stop Web Cam Abortions bill, to second stage of floor debate. Yesterday, legislators advanced the bill to the final round of debate on a 36-9 vote.

Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln, the sponsor of the bill, said it is needed to protect women’s health.

“Let’s call this what it is,” rebutted Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln. “This is an ongoing political attack on women’s rights, women’s health and the health-care providers that are serving them.”

Nebraska Right to Life executive director Julie Schmit-Albin says her group strongly supports the legislation, telling LifeNews, “the action of the Legislature in recognizing that abortion, by court precedent, can be treated differently than other medical procedures.”

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 of other states because of the expense and difficulty in recruiting abortion practitioners and getting them to all of the Planned Parenthood centers in a certain state.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s recent announcement that they intend to expand with sites to mid-sized cities is concerning to Nebraska Right to Life and the abortion business is looking at heading to Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk and North Platte where the telemed abortion process may be used.

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.

“We were pleased that the first round floor debate reflected an Attorney Generals’ informal opinion that abortion is different than other medical procedures and as such, the State has an interest in providing that the standard of care for abortion be consistent,” Schmit-Albin added. “With our current statutes stating that only a licensed physician can perform an abortion, it makes sense for our statutes to also reflect that with the advent of chemical abortions, that licensed physician must also be physically present when inducing the abortion.”

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.”

Meanwhile, the parental consent bill (LB 690) is supposed to fix several loopholes being exploited by abortion providers under Nebraska’s current law, which requires parental notification, but not consent.

The measure would require notarized consent from a pregnant girl’s parent or legal guardian except in cases when the girl says, in a signed statement, she would become a victim of abuse by her parents if she notified them of the abortion. The bill also allows that pregnant girls would be deemed emancipated and able to receive public assistance if she were denied financial support from her parents if they refused to sign off on the abortion, according to the Journal Star newspaper.

State Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft introduced the bill and told lawmakers on the Nebraska Senate floor, according to the Omaha World-Herald, “Such emotionally charged and irreversible decisions should not solely be left to a minor. At times like that, a girl needs her mother.”

Family First Executive Director Dave Bydalek says LB 690 is greatly needed.

“Most teenage girls are not prepared for the possible aftermath – physical, emotional, and psychological – of abortion. They need their parents not simply to be informed, but actively involved in this decision,” he said. “Parents must give consent for other medical procedures, including ear piercing and the disbursement of aspirin in a school setting. Minors often need their parents to sign school report cards and approve school field trips.”

The committee approved an amendment to remove extraneous family members from giving consent — such as grandparents, older siblings and stepparents.

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