By Tom Quiner
I just got back from the Iowa Board of Medicine who heard various speakers express their concern about telemedicine abortions.
If the Board decides that telemed abortions are unsafe, they could halt this practice in its tracks before it spreads nationwide through other Planned Parenthood clinics.
One speaker, Charles Burke, produced 1960 pages of data detailing the health risks of the abortion pill (RU-486) used in telemed abortions. He mentioned 19 deaths and 17 life-threatening situations caused by the abortion pill. He related additional health traumas caused by the abortion pill.
Tre Critelli, a Des Moines trial lawyer, described the telemed abortion issue as one that is complex and politically-charged. For example, who does the patient sue when something goes wrong? The doctor who wasn’t even there? He suggested the Board “punt” on the issue and leave it up to the state legislature to decide. He said we should put a stop to this procedure for the sake of patients and doctors.
Other leaders from the pro life community spoke, including Steven Tasz, Maggie Dewitte, and Jenifer Bowen. I was impressed with the logic and intellectual acuity of each of these speakers. They presented compelling arguments against the practice of telemed abortions, including:
• The procedure is risky, a doctor should be present when something goes wrong.
• It is probably illegal, since Iowa law says a doctor needs to be present.
• Telemed medicine is a legitimate idea in many situations as long as it supports human dignity. Telemed abortion clearly doesn’t.
• Abortion is under-regulated, especially in Iowa. An abortion clinic in Louisiana was recently closed for failure to provide adequate pre-abortion examinations to their patients. Pre-abortion exams are critical to reduce health risks to women. Does Iowa want to lower the bar with this procedure that doesn’t even have a doctor onsite?
The solution is to simply enforce laws already on the books that require a doctor to be physically present. That raises the question: why are we having this discussion on telemed abortions? Is Planned Parenthood that influential with the Attorney General?