Telemed Abortion Ban, Parental Consent Stall In Nebraska


A push to ban telemedicine abortions and to force teens seeking abortions to get parental permission both stalled in the Nebraska legislature, failing to get enough votes to move out of the judiciary committee.

KVNO News reports:

Two bills restricting abortions remain stuck in the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. But advocates say they’re not giving up.

One bill by Lincoln Senator Tony Fulton would ban what critics call “web cam abortions,” and supporters call “telemedicine.” Those are procedures where a woman is connected via videoconferencing to a doctor, who then can remotely open a drawer containing an abortion-inducing drug.

The Judiciary Committee vote on the banning the procedure was four to three, with five votes needed to advance to the bill to the full legislature. Omaha Sen. Burke Harr didn’t vote, saying he’s concerned the bill may be unconstitutional.

Harr also said it may not be constitutional to regulate abortion-inducing drugs based on what they do. He added that if the legislature wanted to prohibit dispensing all prescription drugs via telemedicine, it could probably do that.

The Committee took no vote on another bill regarding abortions for women under age 18. It would change the current requirement for a parent to be notified to one that requires parental consent. Once again, Harr raised constitutional questions.

The failure of the state to ban telemedicine is a definite victory in Nebraska, where most of the state has a large rural population without close access to an abortion provider.  Telemed abortions will allow women who seek terminations to be able to do so without the extra cost and access barriers that make the procedure so difficult and punitive for many rural women.

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