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Ban on so-called 'telemedicine abortions' approved

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 30, 2013 at 7:39 pm •  Published: May 30, 2013

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Doctors will be banned in Louisiana from remotely administering the abortion pill via a video hookup, a procedure criticized as "telemedicine abortion."

The Senate gave final passage Thursday to the bill with a 36-2 vote. The measure by Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, heads next to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who supports it.

The ban will take effect upon signature of the governor.

Supporters included anti-abortion groups and activists. They said a doctor should be present in the room to administer the medication as a safety precaution and as a protection for women's health, rather than authorizing its use from a computer screen.

Planned Parenthood opposed the bill as medically unnecessary, saying it's designed to make it harder for women to get abortions. Remote administration of the abortion pill has been tried in states to give access to women in rural areas where there aren't abortion clinics.

Initially known as RU-486, the abortion pill was approved for use in the United States in 2000 as an alternative to a surgical abortion. The pill is marketed as Mifeprex and works during the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Mifeprex causes an embryo to detach from the uterine wall, and a second pill taken two days later causes contractions and pushes the embryo out of the uterus.

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