Since 2008, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has doled out abortifacients, drugs that cause a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage, without a physician being present to examine the patient. Instead, a doctor dispenses the abortion-inducing drug to patients by the use of a webcam. The only interaction between the patient and the doctor is a conversation over the internet.
On August 30th, the Iowa Board of Medicine voted eight to two to ban the remote disbursement of abortifacients, and ever since, Planned Parenthood has launched a public relations campaign in addition to filing a lawsuit to overrule the board’s decision. Jill June, the President of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, issued a statement following the board’s ruling stating, “We will not role over and play dead. The health and welfare of rural women is too precious.”
On Monday, Iowa legislators refused to delay the implementation of the ban, which is scheduled to take effect in November. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit last week asking the court to block the implementation of the ban.
The Des Moines Register has also been a willing accomplice in helping Planned Parenthood perpetuate its public relations campaign. On Sunday, the Register published an editorial titled, “Medical board sets a troubling precedent for using ‘telemedicine’ in Iowa.”
The Register’s editorial focuses on how technology has changed the medical profession. The Editorial Board begins it’s article by saying that heart patients used to have to visit a cardiologist to have their pacemakers checked, and now they have a small monitor at home that plugs into a phone line. They go on to mention that a surgeon in New York can now oversee a procedure in California with the use of videoconferencing.
The summation of the Register’s editorial is that videoconferencing makes it easier to treat more patients, save money, and access services that patients might not have available in their own communities. All are valid points, but there is a big difference between a surgeon in New York participating in surgery in California that is being conducted by another surgeon, and a Planned Parenthood physician in Des Moines communicating with a woman over the web at some Planned Parenthood satellite location that doesn’t have a doctor on staff.
It’s one thing when a heart patient “plugs in” so that their pacemaker can send an analytic report to the doctor, it’s another thing when a doctor remotely doles on RU-486 so that a woman can end her pregnancy. Dr. Greg Hoversten, the chairman of the Iowa Board of Medicine informed his colleagues of the serious complications from taking an abortifacient. “The woman essentially goes home and labors and delivers a fetus,” Hoversten said. “It’s very bloody. It’s painful. There’s cramping, pelvic cramping. That’s why the physician should be close at hand to help women deal with complications,” he concluded.
Just to give you an idea of how dangerous this drug is, the FDA has already documented 2,207 adverse events in women who have had medication abortions in the U.S., including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 339 cases where blood loss was so great the woman needed a transfusion, 256 infections and 58 ectopic pregnancies.
The Register’s pro-technology position is also hypocritical. While the Register argues that abortion-inducing drugs should be dispensed by the wonders of the internet, they are not pro-technology when it comes to education.
In a February 2012 editorial, the Register lambasted Governor Terry Branstad for promoting online learning. The editorial focuses on two online schools, Connections Academy and K12 Inc., which were setting up full-time, online schools in Iowa. The Register writes, “Students who enroll will never have to set foot in a classroom. At Connections, they could do that from kindergarten until they graduate 13 years later. How could this be legal?”
What was the Register’s response? “Iowa must address this situation now — before it spins out of control the way it has in other states.” The piece ends with a call for lawmakers to take immediate action.
So let me get this straight. The Des Moines Register thinks that a pregnant woman who wants to abort the child in her womb should be able to do so without being examined in person by a licensed doctor, but parents who want to educate their kids by using an online curriculum should be prevented in doing so. Talk about misplaced priorities.
There used to be a time when most pro-choice candidates would say that they wanted abortions to be “safe and rare.” In her 2012 congressional campaign, former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack said in a debate that, “I think abortion should be safe, legal and rare.” President Bill Clinton and President Obama have also stated the same position.
There is nothing about webcam abortions that makes abortion “safe” or “rare.” Remotely dispersing powerful abortion-inducing drugs is dangerous, so dangerous, in fact, that other states have made the practice illegal. While the Iowa Board of Medicine has banned the practice, the legislature still needs to outlaw the practice in the next legislative session.
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