Iowa women’s health in jeopardy with telemedicine abortion

By Maggie DeWitte, Executive Director of Iowans for L.I.F.E.

Maggie DeWitte

Have we gone too far?

In this world of rapidly advancing medical technology, the need exists to frequently step back and look honestly at what the possible outcome of each new advancement might be.

That certainly is the case for the telemedicine abortion scheme being tested on Iowans across the state of Iowa by Planned Parenthood.  Recently, several pro-life and pro-family organizations brought this issue to the forefront by presenting a letter to the Iowa Board of Medicine regarding this push-button medicine during their August 20th board meeting.  Nearly 60 groups within Iowa and across the country signed onto this letter stating that telemedicine abortion is an unsafe practice and should be stopped immediately.

The Des Moines Register wrote an editorial on September 5th entitled, “Telemedicine should help expand care, not limit choice,” and unfortunately gave readers an inaccurate commentary on what the real focus of our letter to the Board of Medicine was about.

The coalition of groups that came together had one issue in mind – telemedicine abortion.  The use of telemedicine in general is not the issue, and if used safely is of great benefit to many people in rural areas.

The opening line of this article states: “Some anti-choice groups will try anything to prevent women from having access to abortions.”  Yes, our group wants to prevent abortion, but our concern that day was the safety and welfare of women.  Such an important and life-changing decision needs to be made with a physician, face-to-face, so the physician can assess her physical and mental health, review her options, and make sure she understands the serious side effects of this action physically, mentally, and emotionally.

This is a women’s health issue.  Pro-life groups are often falsely accused of only caring about the baby. This issue illustrates that we do care about women and want them to be safe and healthy.   If we follow the Anti-life mantra of making abortion safe, rare and legal, we are disregarding their first tenet.  Telemedicine abortion is not safe, pure and simple.

RU-486 (mifepristone) is a dangerous and unsafe drug.  According to 2006 FDA figures, this abortion drug has killed at least 13 women worldwide and injured 1,100 in the United States.  This is not something that should be administered to women of Iowa with nary a physician present as the Register contends.  Telemedicine abortion is not about expanding access to health care to women in rural areas; it is about expanding the pocketbook of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and in the process endangering the lives of our children, sisters, and mothers across this state.

The Des Moines Register states that our “only agenda is to take a step backward when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.”  If the Des Moines Register Editorial staff had bothered to contact our group regarding this article, they would have been able to truthfully report on our agenda that day.  We are an organization whose vision is to educate Iowans on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.  The sanctity of human life includes the women of Iowa who are being tested with this telemedicine abortion scheme.  Their reproductive rights include safe procedures, not dispensing RU-486 by a video and sending these women on their way with no preparation for what has happened or what will happen in the privacy of their home.