Late last week, the Washington Post reported that conservative politicians were targeting a relatively new method of physician-distributed medical abortion pills. Commonly called “telemedicine abortion,” this method allows physicians to consult with women via a video link-up in a clinic. If the physician is satisfied that the woman understands the procedure, he or she can then use a remote control to open a drawer in the clinic that contains the pills. This method is currently only used in Iowa, where more than 2,000 women have used this service through Planned Parenthood of the Heartland since 2008.
Now, legislators in Iowa and Nebraska have announced that they will try to ban telemedicine abortions, and this week Nebraska senator Tony Fulton is expected to introduce a state bill that would require doctors to be physically present to administer the pill. (Never mind that telemedicine abortions aren’t currently available in his state.)