Nebraska telemedicine abortion bill advances

A bill that would prevent doctors from using remote telemedicine systems to administer abortion drugs is headed for debate in the full Nebraska Legislature. The Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to advance the measure to the floor.

The bill (LB521) would require a doctor's physical presence with a patient to administer drugs such as RU-486. The measure by Lincoln Sen. Tony Fulton was designed to prevent a similar program in Iowa, operated by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, from expanding into Nebraska.

The measure advanced after Omaha Sen. Burke Harr, an undecided vote, decided to support it. Harr had raised questions about whether the bill was constitutional, and whether it would place an undue burden on women.