Doctor says Quiner is full of it

By Tom Quiner

An Iowa City doctor responded forcefully to my essay which appeared in the Des Moines Register last Friday.

Here is Dr. Robert Ashman’s letter which appeared in the morning’s Des Moines Register:

Tom Quiner’s piece from Aug. 2 urging the Iowa Board of Medicine to prohibit telemedicine abortions attempts to mislead and frighten.

He begins with the story of an unfortunate patient who died after an abortion, but hers was not a telemedicine abortion. Neither did his extensive quote from the Food and Drug Administration physician listing potential abortion complications refer to telemedicine abortions. His title “Webcam Abortions Have Nothing to do with Health” is mistaken, unless the health of women is to be ignored.

In fact, the attempt to ban them is motivated not by the desire to improve health but to prevent women who have decided to end an unwanted pregnancy from finding a safe, affordable method.

I won’t review the extensive published evidence that the telemedicine abortion procedure performed in Iowa since 2000 is as safe and effective as alternative methods, and as satisfactory as judged by 97 percent of patients. The most frequent complication is bleeding requiring additional treatment, which affects about one in 5,000 patients, the same risk as if the doctor were present.

This safety record depends critically on restricting the procedure to intrauterine pregnancies in the first nine weeks, when the embryo is small, as established by ultrasound. Quiner tugs at our heartstrings by confusing the 9-week embryo with a “person,” a “child” and a “dead baby” to be expelled into the toilet. But embryo, fetus and child are meaningful distinctions if you understand human development.

The Board of Medicine cannot outlaw telemedicine abortions without violating the Hippocratic Oath they took when they became doctors, which contains the phrase “first do no harm” to your patient.

The justification for this claim is that the time from conception to taking RU486 is the most important risk factor for abortion complications. Patients who choose the telemedicine version typically live in remote areas or are financially challenged. Thus, unless the board can find a substitute procedure suitable for this population without delaying the abortion, they will be harming the patient.

Some on the board may respond, “But the embryo is my patient.” And the woman is not?

— Dr. Robert Ashman, Iowa City


  1. Mark on August 7, 2013 at 11:33 am

    What’s in it for him? Extra dollars? I cannot believe that sending a woman home with two pills to complete an abortion with the fetus delivered in the toilet is safe either physically or emotionally! The emotional impact of abortion lingers far longer than the physical discomfort is over. Perhaps he should ask women from “Silent No More” who have experienced what he has not.

  2. doctorjohn on August 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    The question still unanswered by this physician is……When does life begin?
    The murderous LEFT loves to play with the language as in embryo, fetus or baby.
    Life begins at conception which is the only safe place to make that judgement.
    It’s not a choice…IT’S A BABY !!!

  3. kqduane on August 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Non-Christian people will always forcefully disagree with Christian views because, simply put, they missed the boat. It”s too late for them. They have botched their lives. It’s best to just ignore them.

  4. […] In Dr. Robert Ashman’s response to Mr. Tom Quiner’s August 2nd piece on webcam abortions he accuses Mr. Quiner of “confusing the 9-week embryo with a “person,” a “child” and a “dead baby” to be expelled into the toilet.”  Further, Dr. Ashman states that “embryo, fetus and child are meaningful distinctions if you understand human development.” […]

  5. justturnright on August 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks for including this, Tom.

    –It’s a fetus.
    –It’s an embryo.
    –It’s a clump of cells.
    –It’s a ham-and-cheese-on-rye.

    I do so love the deliberately sterilized language of the pro-abortion science community. Their argument is largely semantical, since the primary difference between embryo and fetus is the 8-week mark.
    So, 7 weeks, 6 days, and 12 hours? Embryo.
    8 weeks, 2 hours? Fetus.
    As for when “it” qualifies as human? Gee, we’re really not sure, …but we ARE definitely sure we can kill it!

    Their entire premise hangs by a narrow thread: what definition or view does one use for defining humanity during what the good doctor so rightly terms “human development”. (**Hint to the doctor: there’s your first clue).

    AS you know, some of the choices are: the genetic view, the embryologic view, the neurological view, or fetal viability. And since the argument is ongoing among ALL of these areas, the only real answer is in another of your post’s title:
    “Shouldn’t we err on the side of life?”

    The abortionists can snootily harrumph all they want, but they are simply rationalizing their own bias.
    And that’s not science.

    • quinersdiner on August 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      What an intelligent and insightful response. Very well put. Thanks for enhancing the discussion.

      • justturnright on August 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        Thank you, as well.
        I normally don’t have enough time to read AND put up a thoughtful comment, but you’d done such a nice job with this topic in several of your recent posts, so I took the time.

        Thanks for defending life, Tom.