House Votes to De-Fund Abortion Drugs in Telemedicine

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 16, 2011   |   5:42PM   |   Washington, DC

The House of Representatives today voted for an amendment to HR 2112, the Agriculture Appropriations bill, to ensure no funds authorized under the bill can be used to pay for the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug under a telemedicine grant section.

Congressman Steve King, an Iowa Republican, applauded the 240-176 vote to pass the amendment to prevents any funds within the legislation from being spent on the abortion drug RU-486 “for any purpose,” including use in “telemed abortions.”

Telemed, or webcam, abortions are those in which a woman gets the abortion drug only after a webcam conversation with the abortion practitioner, who may be out of state. The woman is denied the in-person consultation with a physician that the Food and Drug Administration recommends, especially due to the dangerous nature of the drug as it has killed dozens of women worldwide and injured 1,100 women in the United States alone as of 2006 FDA figures. The consultation helps determine whether or not the woman may suffer from an ectopic pregnancy — as usage of the abortion drug RU 486 in such instances is life-threatening.

Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood are the frequent recipient of federal telemedicine grants, and King’s amendment makes it clear that telemedicine grants contained within the agriculture bill cannot be used to facilitate the use of RU-486 in “telemed abortions.” King said the issue is of particular importance in Iowa, as the “telemed abortion” technique was developed by the Des Moines-based abortion provider “Planned Parenthood of the Heartland”, and reports indicate that 1,900 abortions using this technology have been performed in Iowa alone.

During the debate on the amendment, King said Republican lawmakers had learned from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that Planned Parenthood had been receiving taxpayer-funded grants to pay for webcam abortions.

“Smoe of us signed a letter – 70 of us – to Kathleen Sebelius and asked if they had distributed grants for telemedicine to any of the abortion providers including Planned Parenthood,” Rep. King said. “There response came back in the affirmative that they had issued several grants to Planned Parenthood. And these funds, as near as we can determine, are being used to provide telemedicine for the robo-abortions, the robo-Skype abrotions as I’ve described.”

The amendment applies to a $15 million line item in the bill for telemedicine and would it prohibit Planned Parenthood or any other entity from using taxpayer funds to pay for telemed abortions.

“I applaud the House of Representatives for passing my important pro-life amendment today,” said King. “American taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize abortions, and federal telemedicine grants should not be used to enable abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to dispense the RU-486 abortion drug.”

“My amendment ensures that no telemedicine grant money in the Agriculture Appropriations bill will be spent for any purpose that enables abortionists to perform ‘telemed abortions.’ Cutting off this source of funding for this procedure will save the lives of women and unborn babies,” he added.

The vote (see saw 226 Republicans and 14 Democrats join together to ensure Planned Parenthood won’t receive funds for telemed abortions while 176 members, including 167 Democrats and 9 Republicans, voted to fund the abortion business to do abortions in this dangerous manner.