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Idaho Bill To Ban Telemedicine Abortion Advances to Governor

Idaho Bill To Ban Telemedicine Abortion Advances to Governor

March 18, 2015 — The Idaho Senate on Tuesday voted 31-3 to approve a bill (HB 189) that would bar the use of telemedicine in abortion services, the AP/Idaho Statesman reports.

The bill now heads to the governor for consideration.

According to the AP/Statesman, the bill includes several other provisions related to how the state would regulate telemedicine. The lawmakers who voted in the minority on Tuesday specifically objected to the abortion restrictions (AP/Idaho Statesman, 3/17).

None of the state's three clinics that offer abortion services use telemedicine for medication abortions (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/3).

Separate Telemedicine Abortion Ban Advances

Meanwhile, a state Senate committee on Monday approved a separate bill (HB 154) that would prohibit physicians from using telemedicine in medication abortion care by requiring them to be physically present while administering the drugs, the AP/Twin Falls Times-News reports.

According to the AP/Times-News, state Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb (D) attempted to keep the bill in the committee, a procedural move that is often used to try to kill legislation. However, the motion failed after state Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill (R) introduced a counter motion to send the bill to the full chamber for consideration (Kruesi, AP/Twin Falls Times-News, 3/16).

The Idaho House earlier this month voted 55-14 to pass the measure, which was proposed by the antiabortion-rights group Idaho Chooses Life. Under the bill, providers would have to conduct a physical exam before administering medication abortion drugs, be capable of providing surgical intervention and attempt to schedule a follow-up appointment, among other requirements.

Further, the measure would allow a patient, her spouse or, if the patient is deceased, her parents to seek damages against the provider for alleged violations of the legislation. In addition, county prosecutors could call for an injunction against the provider.

The original bill was revised at the request of a state physicians group. Specifically, the revisions eliminated language that would have required medication abortion providers to make "all" efforts necessary to ensure follow-up care and added a stipulation that providers make "reasonable efforts" to schedule such appointments. In addition, the revised measure clarified that follow-up visits can occur with a different provider at the same practice (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/3).