The Kansas House Saturday afternoon passed a modest tweak to an abortion law insuring that abortion pills will not be accessed by “webcam” without the onsite interaction of a Kansas-licensed physician.
Senate Sub for HB 2228 passed the House with only 2 dissents, mirroring the Senate’s 39-0 support for the bill last week.
The measure is a technical clarification, affirming that medical emergencies and hospital abortions are exceptions to the abortion pill “in-person-physician” mandate.
The anti-webcam language was enacted in 2011 as part of a comprehensive Abortion Clinic Licensure Act. All of the Act has been blocked due to an injunction obtained by the Overland Park abortion business, Center for Women’s Health (CWH).
A non-surgical abortion actually involves two different drugs: mifepristone given initially, followed within 2 days by misoprostol. Abortions “by pills” comprised 46% of total Kansas abortions in 2014, and pose serious risks, including death. (see NRLC report here)
The “in-person-physician” mandate was driven by Iowa’s experience in which multiple Planned Parenthood clinics dispensed abortion pills without any in-person-physician exam. Instead, women had only a remote “contact” with a distant physician via computer screen.
19 states have enacted anti-webcam laws; 15 are in effect, two go into effect in July and Iowa and Kansas laws are under injunction.
Today’s bill passed 109-2 with one “pass” and 13 members absent. It is expected to be signed without delay by Gov. Brownback and will go into effect upon publication. This way, the Attorney General’s office can ask the district Court to allow the original 2011 anti-webcam provision to go into effect while the snail-paced lawsuit proceeds.
Last year, the Kansas legislature similarly passed clarifications to the abortion medical emergency definition and the mandated informed consent weblink. The desired result was achieved when distinct legal challenges in separate courts from CWH and Planned Parenthood were dropped due to the clarifications.