This week, the Iowa State Board of Medicine showed at the most, courage, and at the least, common sense by shutting down the process of “tele-med abortions.” Iowa, it turns out, pioneered in the practice, and has now joined 11 other states which have banned the “tele-termination” of innocent life.
Here is how the practice works: If there is no abortion clinic, and by that I mean one that either dismembers your baby or scalds it chemically while you are sedated, you can go to a “remote location,” where you go into a room and log on via Skype and talk to a doc who could be anywhere. He or she asks you questions, while you are all alone in the room, and then, if it is determined that you are a good candidate for RU-486, (the abortion drug that does the deed in stages,) a button is pushed, a drawer is electronically opened by the doctor, and you remove your dosage from the drawer.
Then, the doctor watches you take the medication, waits for awhile, and then sends you home to take the rest of the medication the next day. Your baby dies, you expel your dead baby, and you come back to “see” the doc in two weeks.
Is it just me, or does this sound like something out of a sci-fi horror flick? Obviously, the child is dead, but that was, after all, the end game. And the mother? There was such a rash of deaths from RU-486 that the FDA had to change the labeling and put the strongest possible warnings on the new shipments of the drug, although because most of those deaths were ultimately the result of infection, the actual mortality rate is exceedingly tough to track.
That being said, to expect that a woman could do something so drastic as this via remote control, and then go home, complete the process, and “hope for the best” is unconscionable. I am sure that such “candidates” are told to high tail it to the nearest ER at the first sign of trouble, but on any level, can this be considered medicine?
Of course Planned Parenthood is up in arms at the 8-2 decision of the Iowa board, trotting out the old “keep abortion safe and legal” mantra, and claiming that no other form of “tele-medicine” has been targeted. A spokesperson for the Guttmacher Institute, the “research arm” of Planned Parenthood, said the following: “Tele-medicine is spreading across the country in chronic disease and mental health care, but abortion’s the only way we’re seeing it restricted,” said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute. “Whenever there’s an advancement in health care, an abortion restriction is never far behind.”
Really? In 1999, when a 5-month-old fetus named Samuel Armas with spina bifida was temporarily placed outside the womb of his mom, grabbed the hand of the Vanderbilt surgeon who performed the miraculous surgery on his tiny spine, placed back inside his mom, and was subsequently safely delivered, was there “an abortion restriction” that followed on its heels? In a way, perhaps, and thank God for it, as the “average bear” American now had to try and justify surgery that would save the life of a pre-born child being simultaneously available with one that for any reason could suck out its brains.
That debate still rages, and will until we come to our senses. But for now, we can celebrate the fact that the Iowa State Board of Medicine has stopped “tele-abortion” in its tracks, if for no other reason than it is a “danger to women.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner