- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - In a story Jan. 15 about a bill to prohibit administering abortion-inducing medication remotely, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Planned Parenthood does not provide the medication in Arkansas. It does offer medication to patients at its Arkansas clinics, but not remotely.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Ark. bill to require doctors to give abortion pill in person

Arkansas bill would require doctors to give abortion pill in person to women

By NOMAAN MERCHANT

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Women in Arkansas seeking abortion-inducing medication would have to take it in the presence of a doctor and come back for a follow-up days later under a bill filed Thursday in the Arkansas Legislature.

Supporters of the bill say they want to prevent any instances of abortion medication being administered through telemedicine, even though both sponsors noted that she wasn’t aware of any Arkansas providers offering the procedure remotely. They said it was important to pre-emptively stop the procedure.

“We’re trying to prevent it from happening,” said Republican Rep. Julie Mayberry, of Hensley. Certainly it’s easier to prevent something than it is to come on the back end and try to stop it.”

The bill requires a doctor to “make all reasonable efforts” to see the woman 12 to 18 days later, and those who violate the provisions could be sued by the woman who receives the abortion or the father of the fetus.

Mayberry and Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View introduced the bill and already have more than 50 co-sponsors, including Senate President Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe.

They said the bill protects the lives of women and prevents doctors from missing any problems due to abortion-inducing drugs.

“There are a lot of times the woman goes home or to an apartment or to a hotel room or whatever, and that’s where she has the abortion,” Mayberry said of medication-induced abortions. “She’s all alone, and if she has a problem, who then does she go see?”

Thirty-eight states require abortion medication to be given by a licensed physician, and 16 states require the medication to be given in person, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that supports abortion access.

Planned Parenthood does not currently provide abortion medication remotely in Arkansas, according to Angie Remington, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which runs abortion clinics in Little Rock and Fayetteville where the medication is given in person. The group’s CEO, Suzanna de Baca, said in a statement that a woman who gets the medicine remotely “received the same counseling, exam and information face-to-face with a medical professional, just as she does with an in-person visit with a doctor.”

“The intent of this proposed legislation is not about improving the lives or the safety of Arkansas women,” de Baca said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he hadn’t reviewed the bill yet.

“Certainly I’m pro-life and so we’ll look at it very favorably, but I want to look at that and discuss that with Sen. Irvin,” he said.

The bill was introduced before Sunday’s march that’s being staged by the anti-abortion Arkansas Right to Life, which has called this legislation its top priority. Hutchinson will be the keynote speaker at Sunday’s rally.

Arkansas last year banned abortions after 12 weeks, a law currently on hold as a federal appeals court reviews it.

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Associated Press writer Andrew DeMillo contributed to this report.

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Follow Nomaan Merchant on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nomaanmerchant.

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