Republican-led Michigan Senate OKs extension of abortion telemedicine ban

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LANSING, Mich. - The Republican-led Michigan Senate has voted to make permanent a ban against doctors prescribing abortion drugs via an internet camera.

The provision in a 2012 abortion law is set to expire after this year. The GOP-backed bill, approved 25-12 along mostly party lines Thursday, would extend the prohibition permanently.

The law requires that physicians do a physical exam of a patient wanting a medical abortion, in which drugs are used to end a pregnancy. They also must be present when the drugs are dispensed.

Before voting, senators amended the legislation to also ban doctors from using telemedicine to diagnose that a woman is pregnant. Democrats say the bill — now headed to the House — would especially hurt rural women’s ability to access health care.

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