Nebraska's one-house Legislature approved a bill (PDF) banning the dispensing of abortion-inducing medication via telemedicine, referred to by some opponents as "Webcam abortions," by a 38-9 vote (two legislators did not vote), and the measure is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican.
Neb. Legislature bans telemedicine abortions
The bill intends to block Nebraska's Planned Parenthood of the Heartland chapter from adopting a program used in 16 Iowa clinics where, according to a National Partnership for Women and Families description, a woman who is no more than nine weeks pregnant is examined and receives an ultrasound from a nurse before consulting with a physician via computer. If the patient and physician agree to go forward with an abortion, the doctor presses a button that opens a drawer in the examination room that contains the medication to terminate pregnancy.
The approved legislation requires the physical presence of a physician "who performs, induces or attempts to perform an abortion."
Dale Mahlman, executive vice president of the Nebraska Medical Association, said his organization's position on this bill was "to monitor (it) only."
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