Nebraska State Senator Tony Fulton has pledged to take on chemical abortion drugs offered remotely through video conferencing in the New Year.
Fulton said he plans on introducing legislation requiring doctors to be physically present to administer abortion-inducing medication in the 2011 session. The proposed bill is aimed at keeping recent trend in Iowa clinics, called teleabortion, from crossing state lines.
The method uses advances in telecommunications to allow doctor who is physically miles away to video conference with clinic patients, and, with the press of a button, remotely administer an abortion drug.
"I'm not trying to inhibit telemedicine, but we're talking about chemical abortions here. It's not appropriate," the Republican state lawmaker told The Washington Post.
Iowa Planned Parenthood began servicing patients in the early stages of pregnancy through teleabortion in 2008. Since then 2,000 women have utilized the service offered inside the clinic.
Planned Parenthood believes the procedure is the future of modern medicine.
"This is the future of medicine in all fields, not just abortion." announced Kyle Carlson, legal/ lobbying director for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, in The Washington Post.
In hospitals, telemedicine improves access to specialty treatments. In Iowa abortion clinics, it opens up access to a controversial prescription drug, Mifeprex or RU-486.
RU-486, developed overseas, causes miscarriage by blocking a particular hormone necessary for a pregnancy to progress. The pill is approved for women within the first nine weeks of their pregnancy.
President George H. W. Bush banned the drug from personal use in the 1980s. However, it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 for prescription use.
Conservatives label the drug as an abortion drug and maintain that is dangerous to both babies and the mothers who take the prescribed pill. They link the pill to 11 consumer deaths. The FDA has not linked these incidents to the drug.
"RU-486 is not without controversy and has not been without complications. It seems to me we should leave these Webcam abortions to the realm of science fiction," prescribed Fulton.
The Nebraska legislature returns to work next week.