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Kansas lawmakers pass telemedicine bill with abortion clause

May 1, 2018 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are including an anti-abortion clause in a bill to expand health coverage through telemedicine.

The House and Senate have both passed the bill despite concerns over a clause saying the law will be nullified if a court ever strikes down a passage forbidding abortions via telemedicine, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, opposed the bill. She said the potential for the law to later be dismantled puts all of telemedicine at risk.

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“The bill has been hijacked and highly politicized by inserting an unnecessary and unprecedented nonseverability clause,” Kelly said.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, said that as a retired physician, she also couldn’t support the bill, calling it an invasion of nonmedical policy into the private physician-patient relationship.

“It interferes with the constitutional right to decide, in collaboration with a physician, an individual’s medical care,” Bollier said.

But Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, who was involved in negotiations between the House and Senate, said the bill “wasn’t going anywhere” without the clause.

Kansas already uses telemedicine, but the measure provides structure and rules. The guidance is expected to expand telemedicine, improving access to health care in underserved communities.

The legislation now goes to Gov. Jeff Colyer for consideration.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com