Press Release: Senator Megan Hunt Introduces Bill to Allow Telemedicine for Abortion

Senator Megan Hunt Introduces Bill to Allow Telemedicine for Abortion

Lincoln, NE— 1.22.19 — Today Senator Megan Hunt introduced LB503, a bill that would eliminate the requirement for a physician to be physically present in the room during a medical abortion.  Under current statute, telemedicine for abortion is banned, leaving many economically disadvantaged women and women in rural counties without access to safe and necessary care.  

In 2008, Iowa legalized telemedicine for abortion to provide medical abortion care for rural patients. A longitudinal study from Ibis Reproductive Health adds to a growing body of research that indicates that the provision of medical abortion via teleconference is just as safe and effective as meeting with the physician in person.  

“In Nebraska, we have a first-class medical community,” Hunt said. “On a daily basis, our health care professionals determine when any health care delivery method is safe, including telemedicine for other areas of care. Telemedicine for medical abortion should not be any different. Telemedicine allows a physician to prescribe and dispense medication by video or teleconference,” Hunt continued. “A recent study conducted in Iowa over seven years concluded that a virtual consultation with a physician for a medical abortion is perfectly safe, and led to no adverse outcomes for patients.”

“As more and more women’s healthcare clinics are closing under the weight of governmental restrictions, telemedicine is an increasingly crucial option for low-income and rural patients,” said Hunt. “In all medical contexts except abortion, Nebraska authorizes physicians to use telemedicine to provide treatment and prescribe medication. To not offer telemedicine for abortion is to create an undue burden for Nebraskan women.”