Michigan Telemedicine Abortion Ban (SB 1198)

SB 1198 would eliminate the sunset provision of a TRAP law signed in 2012 which prohibits the use of telemedicine in the case of abortion and which is set to expire on December 31, 2018.

Public Act 499 of 2012 imposed various regulations and restrictions for facilities that provide abortions in the state of Michigan, including reporting requirements, screening requirements, disposing of fetal remains, and a ban on the use of telemedicine when prescribing a medical abortion.

Telemedicine Ban

The provision set to expire prohibits a physician from prescribing a medical abortion for a pregnant patient unless the physician or an individual licensed and qualified by “education and training” first personally performs a physical examination of the patient. The law prohibits the use of web cameras to diagnose a pregnancy or the gestational age of a pregnancy and prescribe medical abortions. The law requires a physician to obtain informed consent and be physically present at the location of the medical abortion when the prescription drug is dispensed.

SB 1198 would eliminate the sunset provision and make the ban on telemedicine abortion permanent.


Latest Action

11/29/2018 – Passed the senate by a 25-12 vote.

12/13/2018 – Passed the house by a 62-47 vote.

12/28/2018 – Vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

Kansas Telemedicine Act (HB 2028)

HB 2028 defines telemedicine and telehealth and would require that insurers reimburse at the same rate whether a patient visited a doctor in person or received care remotely.

The law prohibits abortion via telemedicine, which is already prohibited under state law, and instructs the entire law to be nullified in the event that a court strikes down the abortion ban clause.


Related Legislation

The law prohibits abortion via telemedicine, which has been banned under state law since 2011 with the passage of SB 36 (codified at K.S.A. § 65-4a10). The original law requires a physician be present when a pregnant person takes an abortion-inducing drug. In response to a court battle over the law (see Hodes & Nauser v. Moser), the requirement was amended in 2015 by HB 2228, which clarified that only the initial dose of mifepristone must be administered in the presence of a physician.


Sponsors

Originally sponsored by the House Committee on Health and Human Services.

Currently sponsored by the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare.

Anti-choice group, Kansans for Life, lobbied for the anti-abortion language to be included in the bill.


STATUS

The original version of the bill, which did not include anti-abortion language, passed the house on January 30, 2017, by a 118-2 vote.

The senate passed a substitute bill on March 29, 2018, by a 40-vote. The house did not agree with the substitute. The senate passed a second substitute bill on April 7, 2018, by a 24-14 vote. The house, once again, did not agree.

The senate passed a final version of the bill, which included the anti-abortion language, on April 30, 2018, by a 32-6 vote.

The house adopted the final version on April 30, 2018, by a 107-13 vote.

Signed into law by Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) May 12, 2018.

Update #1

On December 31, 2018, District Court Judge Franklin R. Theis temporarily blocked the law pending the outcome of a similar lawsuit filed in 2011.

West Virginia Bill Relating to the Practice of Telemedicine (HB 2509)

HB 2509 regulates the practice of telemedicine in the state of West Virginia. The law provides for requirements, exceptions, and definitions related to telemedicine services.

The law allows a physician to prescribe controlled substances on Schedule II of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act in certain circumstances.

Medication Abortion

While moving through the legislature, the law was amended to prohibit a physician or health-care provider from prescribing any drug with the intent of causing an abortion.

STATUS

Passed the house on March 6, 2017, by a 97-2 vote.

Passed the senate (with amendment) on April 4, 2017, by a 34-0 vote.

Final house passage on April 7, 2017, by a 87-13 vote.

Signed by Gov. Jim Justice (D) on April 26, 2017.

Utah Telehealth Amendments (HB 154)

HB 154 would authorize the practice and coverage of telemedicine and establish certain standards of care, training, and other requirements with which a physician must comply to practice telemedicine.

The bill prohibits a physician from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs via telemedicine, except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the individual would be endangered without an abortion.

STATUS

While the original draft of the bill included the above prohibition on prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, an amendment was added to strip the language. With this change, abortion-inducing drugs may be prescribed.

Passed the house on February 7, 2017, by a 56-15 vote.

Passed the senate on February 23, 2017, by a 23-0 vote.

Utah Telehealth Revisions Bill (HB 340)

HB 340 would amend the Medical Assistance Act and the Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program Act to provide coverage for certain telehealth services.

The bill would prohibit a practitioner treating a patient through telehealth services from issuing  a prescription through electronic prescribing for a drug or treatment to cause an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the pregnant patient would be endangered without an abortion.

South Carolina Telemedicine Act (H 5162)

H 5162 would authorize the practice of telemedicine and establish certain standards of care, training, and other requirements with which a physician must comply to practice telemedicine.

The bill prohibits a physician from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs via telemedicine.

An ‘abortion-inducing drug’ means a medicine, drug, or any other substance prescribed or dispensed with the intent of terminating the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the termination will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the ‘unborn child,’ including off-label use of drugs known to have abortion-inducing properties prescribed specifically with the intent of causing an abortion, such as misoprostol (Cytotec) and methotrexate.

Iowa Bill Regarding Medication Abortion Restrictions (HF 2084)

HF 2084 would prohibit dispensing abortion-inducing drugs by anyone other than a physician and would require that the physician comply with all federal regulations relating to abortion-inducing drugs. The physician would be required to administer abortion-inducing drugs in person and in a clinic or hospital with the capacity to provide surgical intervention in cases resulting in an incomplete abortion or severe bleeding.

Status

Similar to SF 11 and HF 173, both of which failed to pass in 2015 and 2013, respectively.

Kansas Bill Amending Telemedicine Ban (HB 2228)

HB 2228 amends Kansas’ telemedicine ban (SB 36 codified at K.S.A. § 65-4a10) to clarify that only the initial dose of mifepristone must be administered in the presence of a physician.

The law is intended to settle litigation regarding SB 36, which could be interpreted to require that a pregnant person make a second trip to see a physician for administration of the second dose of mifepristone.

In addition, the bill also adds an exception for medical emergencies and for abortions performed in a hospital through inducing labor.


STATUS

This bill was approved by Gov. Brownback on June 5, 2015.

Update #1

On December 31, 2018, Judge Theis ruled that his 2011 order blocking SB 36 also blocked 2015’s HB 2228, calling his 2011 order blocking the ban a “safe harbor” for the Plaintiff abortion provider (see Hodes & Nauser v. Moser, which is still pending; and Trust Women Foundation, Inc. v. Schmidt).

Idaho Telehealth Access Act (H 189)

H 189 establishes the Idaho Telehealth Access Act.  The Act lists the benefits of telemedicine and goes on to outline acceptable uses of telehealth services in the state of Idaho.

The bill requires that any telehealth services be within the scope of license and consistent with the standards of the profession as defined by their board. It also defines how the patient-provider relationship may be established without face-to-face, in-person contact. It also places limitations on the prescriptions that can be authorized via telehealth tools.

H 189 specifically states that “no drug may be prescribed through telehealth services for the purpose of causing an abortion.”

STATUS

This bill was sponsored by the House of Delegates Health and Welfare Committee Committee.

The bill was passed by the House on March 3 and passed by the Senate on March 17.

Gov. Otter signed this bill into law on March 25, 2015.

Minnesota Telemedicine Ban (HF 3361)

HF 3361 would have required the physical presence of a physician and follow-up visits when drugs or chemicals are used to induce an abortion. Physicians would have been required to give the pregnant woman written instructions to return 12 to 18 days after the visit so they may assess the woman’s medical condition.

The bill states that the woman’s medical record must include a brief description of the reasonable efforts made by the physician to encourage the woman to attend the follow-up appointment.

Any person who knowingly or recklessly violated this section would have been guilty of a felony.

STATUS

Died in committee.  Companion bill to SF 2957.