Medication abortion bill amended, advanced after cloture vote

A bill that would require medical professionals to provide additional information to women seeking abortions advanced from select file May 23 after a successful cloture vote.

LB209, introduced by Thurston Sen. Joni Albrecht, would require medical providers to inform a woman seeking an abortion that the first of two drugs administered during a medical abortion—mifepristone—is not always effective in ending a pregnancy.

In addition to other information already required under existing law, the bill would require a provider to inform a woman that if she changes her mind and wants to continue a pregnancy after taking mifepristone, she may consult the state Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

The bill would direct DHHS to publish information on the agency’s website about the effectiveness of mifepristone in ending pregnancy as well as contact information for medical assistance.

DHHS would collect data from medical providers every time a woman attempts to continue a pregnancy after taking an initial dose of mifepristone. The data collected would include the woman’s age, facility location, name of the attending physician, any complications experienced and other relevant medical information.

The information would be included in the annual DHHS report on abortion in Nebraska.

Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood introduced an amendment on select file, adopted 43-3, which specifically would exempt breastfeeding from the state’s public indecency statutes. Breastfeeding in public currently is legal, Blood said, but a nursing mother still may be cited for public indecency if someone is affronted by her behavior.

After three hours of debate, Albrecht filed a motion to invoke cloture, or cease debate and vote on the bill. The motion was adopted 35-11. Thirty-three votes were needed. Senators then advanced LB209 to final reading on a 36-9 vote.

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