By Dave Andrusko
LINCOLN— On Tuesday the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted the Stop Web Cam Abortions bill out of committee and onto the floor. This important step forward was made possible when Senator Burke Harr changed his vote from when LB521 was taken up two weeks ago.
“Nebraska Right to Life would like to thank Senator Harr for switching from ‘not voting’ to ‘yes’ to vote LB 521 out of committee,” said Julie Schmit-Albin, Nebraska Right to Life Executive Director. “After researching initial concerns he had about the bill, Senator Harr felt comfortable enough to move LB 521 to the floor for full debate and passage.”
Also voting LB 521 to the floor were Senators Steve Lathrop, Scott Lautenbaugh, Colby Coash, and Tyson Larson.
The same abortion conglomerate that first started webcam abortions in Iowa—Planned Parenthood of the Heartland–has announced plans to open a dozen new clinics in Nebraska and Iowa over the next five years, six in each state.
Under the webcam system, an abortionist, typically from a clinic in a large urban center, communicates with a woman at a remote location by means of a video conferencing system. After a brief screening and “counseling” session, he clicks a mouse and triggers the opening of a drawer from which the woman takes out the two drugs that make up the “RU-486″ chemical abortion regimen: mifepristone and misoprostol.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which covers both Iowa and Nebraska, implemented Web Cam chemical abortions at 16 remote sites across Iowa in 2008.
“To date, they have performed over 2,000 RU-486 chemical abortions in Iowa via remote computer hook-up,” Schmit-Albin explained.
What makes LB 521 so important is that it requires that the abortionist be physically present during the performance of an abortion. “This would extend the standard of care regarding abortion in Nebraska to include that not only must a licensed physician perform an abortion but that the physician must be physically present during the abortion,” Schmit-Albin said.
“This type of chemical abortion via Web Cam set-up would not be legal in Nebraska under LB 521,” she added. “Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s recent announcement makes it even more urgent that LB 521 is passed this legislative session.”
The six mid-sized college cities where PPH would like to set up sites are: Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk and North Platte.