Minnesota: Dayton Vetoes Ban on Dangerous Webcam Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 30, 2012   |   4:27PM   |   Washington, DC

Gov. Mark Dayton today vetoed a ban on dangerous webcam abortions where abortion facilities prevent women from seeing a physician in person before giving them the drug that has killed dozens and injured thousands more.

The women’s safety measure had the strong support of the state legislature and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the statewide pro-life organization.

The Minnesota Senate approved the ban on a 39-25 vote. H.F. 2341, authored by Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, would stop dangerous webcam abortions by requiring that a physician be physically present when administering the drugs for an abortion using the dangerous mifepristone drug. Webcam abortions involve the RU 486 abortion drug, administered via video conference with an abortion provider in another location. The doctor talks with the woman, then presses a button which opens a drawer to remotely dispense the drug.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life supported the bill because the doctor is never physically present in a webcam abortion to examine the woman for any problems, such as a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy or any other condition or factor that would make this abortion procedure especially dangerous for her. Planned Parenthood began offering webcam abortions last year at its Rochester facility; women consult with a doctor in St. Paul.

MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach condemned the veto, saying, “Once again, Gov. Dayton has come to the defense of the abortion industry at the expense of women’s safety. This is the seventh pro-life initiative that would protect women and unborn children that has been vetoed. The Dayton record is now clear: he is no friend of women or their babies.”

The risks of RU 486 can be severe: 14 women are known to have died in the U.S. after taking the drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Last month, an Australian agency disclosed that a woman there died from an infection after taking RU 486. A prominent gynecologist and advocate of the drug has called for a review of the drug’s protocol.

“This legislation focuses primarily on the life of the mother,” Gazelka said during the floor debate. “Currently in Minnesota, some chemical abortions are being performed without a physician physically present. Instead, the physician is watching via webcam from a different city or location.”

“RU 486 is not an aspirin; it’s not a prescription. It’s dangerous,” Gazelka added. “This [requiring a physician to be present] may not be the most cost-effective way for Planned Parenthood to deliver abortions, but it certainly considers the life of the mother.”

“This is a very serious and dangerous drug and we just don’t want to take this lightly,” Peppin said during floor debate. “The FDA requires a physician to administer this drug.”

Three advocates of webcam abortion testified, including Carrie Terrell of Whole Women’s Health abortion center in Minneapolis, and Karen Law of Pro-Choice Resources. No mention was made of the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, a hallmark of “pro-choice” arguments.

With the drug having killed dozens of women worldwide and injured more than 2,200 alone in the United States, according to April 2011 FDA figures, pro-life groups have been concerned about Planned Parenthood putting women’s health at risk.

Last year, Wisconsin Right to Life informed LifeNews that Planned Parenthood has begun using the extremely dangerous RU 486 web-cam abortion technique in Minnesota. According to Planned Parenthood Minnesota spokesperson Connie Lewis, the organization began doing webcam abortions at their Rochester facility — making it the first time the abortion business has expanded doing abortions beyond the twin cities area.



RU 486 and its companion drug are administered between the fifth and ninth weeks of pregnancy, after pregnancy has been confirmed and the process typically involves three trips to a doctor. About half of the women abort while at the doctor’s office, with another 26 percent having an abortion within the next 20 hours at any location at home or in public. The remainder either have an abortion in the coming weeks or none at all of the drug fails to work — making it so a surgical abortion is required.

Through April, the FDA reports 2,207 adverse events related to the use of RU 486, including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 339 blood transfusions, and 256 cases of infections in the United States alone. A European drug manufacturer has publicly stated that 28 women have died worldwide after using RU 486/mifepristone.

ACTION:  Contact Governor Dayton to complain at https://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/

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