A women’s reproductive rights group filed a lawsuit against the state of Kansas Thursday, challenging its ban on telemedicine abortions allowing women to forgo an in-person doctor consultation before aborting their unborn babies.
The Center For Reproductive Rights sued the state over its block of the Kansas Telemedicine Act, which permits women to abort their unborn babies in the early stages of pregnancy using abortive drugs without mandating any kind of prior visit to a medical professional.
The measure requires that state insurance companies cover a number of telemedicine services, abortion included, that are otherwise covered during in-person visits to the doctor.
The ban is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
“Telemedicine was originally created as a way to treat patients who were located in remote places,” according to EVisit. Telemedicine offers a convenient, accessible form of care for patients, but that care is not always comprehensive due to its virtual nature.
A telemedicine abortion takes place in a room with a nurse or trained technician virtually present. The patient takes on abortion pill in the “presence” of a doctor, and takes a second pill later at home on their own, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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“This ban hurts Kansas women by mandating that they must travel farther and pay more in gas, child care, lost wages and lodging to access necessary medical care,” Trust Women CEO Julie Burkhart said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. “Medication abortion is safe whether provided in-person or by telemedicine.”
Trust Women “opens clinics that provide abortion care in underserved communities so that all women can make their own decisions about their health care,” according to its Twitter handle.
The measure also requires organizations that provide services covered by the state’s Medicaid program to cover telemedicine speech-language pathology and audiology services, according to the Act. The law bars the requirement of any kind of official documentation in order to receive services. The patient’s medical record is all that is required for insurance reimbursement purposes, the Act posits.
A number of states adopted measures restricting abortion access at Tuesday’s midterms. West Virginia residents voted to adopt Amendment 1, which adds to the state’s constitution that “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” It also prevents Medicaid funds from being used for abortions, according to CNN.
Alabama voted to adopt Statewide Amendment 2, affirming that “the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion,” according to BallotPedia. The amendment also changes the state policy to “recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children.”
The Center For Reproductive Rights did not reply to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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