Des Moines Newspaper May Have Admitted Telemed Abortions Illegal in Iowa

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 7, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Des Moines Newspaper May Have Admitted Telemed Abortions Illegal in Iowa

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 7
, 2010

Des Moines, IA ( — The Des Moines Register newspaper may have inadvertently admitted in a recent editorial that the controversial telemed abortion process is illegal in Iowa. That’s where a woman receives the dangerous abortion drug not from an in-person visit with a physician but after a videoconference.

Local pro-life advocates were joined by national leaders in appearing before the Iowa Board of Medicine in August to explain the problems.

The IBM eventually decided to create a committee that would possibly study telemed abortions, though the IBM has come under fire for potential links to the Planned Parenthood abortion business engaging in telemed abortions.

In a September 5 editorial promoting the legalization of the telemed abortion process, it appears the state’s capital city newspaper may have admitted the abortions are not currently illegal.

"Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has used telemedicine as it was intended: to expand access to legal health services in rural Iowa. The challenge of that smart approach should prompt state leaders to update laws and policies – to give Iowans increased access to health care, including abortion, through the use of technology," the newspaper wrote.

"Now it’s up to Iowa leaders to re-evaluate outdated abortion laws in this state,’ the paper added. "The law requiring physicians to perform abortions made sense when all abortions were surgical procedures. But that requirement is called into question now."

Jill Stanek, a pro-life nurse and blogger, wonders why the newspaper would say that state legislators should update the law to allow telemed abortions — unless they are prohibited under current law. Otherwise, she asks, why would the laws be outdated and need renewed evaluation?

"The Des Moines Register editorial board had to admit Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is currently committing them illegally," Stanek said, adding that state residents should "read carefully" what the paper wrote.

Stanek says, though, that the bigger offense is failing to inform women of the risks associated with the mifepristone (RU 486) abortion drug.

"In touting the need for telemed abortions in rural areas, the editorial board did not present a solution for aborting mothers who encounter emergencies in rural areas," she said.

"Instead the editorial board ridiculously relied on unsubstantiated data from the fox guarding the hen house to say the hens are safe: PP says that of the 1,500 women who have used telemedicine for abortions over the past 2 years, none has reported complications," Stanek noted.

However, she cited Planned Parenthood’s own web site, which lists complications such as "incomplete abortion – part of the pregnancy is left inside the uterus, infection, undetected ectopic pregnancy, and very heavy bleeding."

And with dozens of women dying from the abortion drug worldwide, including six in the United States alone, and 1,100 women in the United States having problems such as needing complete blood transfusions and hospitalizations after using the abortion drug, Stanek is surprised there are no complications.

"So out of 1,500 abortions there has not been one allergic reaction, not one infection, not one ectopic pregnancy found after the fact, and not one case of heavy bleeding? Wow," she said. "This means PP of the Heartland, which should have encountered 45-60 incomplete abortions out of 1,500 RU-486 telemed abortions, in actuality encountered not one? Wow again. That’s amazing."

"Because if there were any complications or need for surgical abortions in the event of an RU-486 fail, again the question for mothers in rural areas would be, where to go?" Stanek concludes. "Had the Des Moines Register editorial board written this opinion piece for a Journalism 101 class, it would have gotten an F for not checking the obviously biased source of a pretty incredible and unsubstantiated statistic."


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