La. Senate Panel Passes Bill Requiring Doctors To Be Present for Medication Abortions

April 19, 2013 — A Louisiana Senate committee on Wednesday advanced a bill (SB 90) that would prohibit the use of telemedicine during medication abortion care, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports (Millhollon, Baton Rouge Advocate, 4/17).

The bill states that a doctor must be "in the physical presence of the pregnant woman when the drug or chemical is initially administered." It also would require abortion providers to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and increase state fines the Health Department may levy against clinics that violate regulations (AP/77Square, 4/16).

State Sen. Fred Mills (R) -- the bill's sponsor -- said he is not aware of any abortion providers in the state who use telemedicine. He said the bill would not affect emergency contraception.

The measure was introduced as Planned Parenthood conducts a fundraising campaign to build a new health center in New Orleans. Melissa Flournoy, state director for the organization, said it has never provided abortions in the state but plans to at the new health center (Baton Rouge Advocate, 4/17).