Congressional Bill Cuts Planned Parenthood Webcam Abortion Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 11, 2012   |   12:18PM   |   Washington, DC

A new bill introduced in Congress by a pro-life advocate from Iowa cuts off public funding to abortion clinics, like Planned Parenthood, that engage in the practice of telemed abortions.

Congressman Steve King, an Iowa Republican, introduced the “Telemedicine Safety Act” to respond to the new process by which Planned Parenthood is distributing the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 to women but denying them an in-person consultation with a physician beforehand, as the FDA suggests.

“Telemed abortions involve dispensing powerful and dangerous abortion drugs, like RU-486, without a doctor present. The drug is administered after a brief video conference between the doctor and patient. While the doctor may be hundreds of miles away, the woman is left to endure the serious side-effects of the drug,” King says.

“Planned Parenthood’s ulterior motives must be made known,” said King. “Their aggressive promotion of the gruesome practice of abortion by video conference is expanding the destructive ‘abortion on demand’ culture in America — all in the name of increased profits.”

“Telemed abortions, without the overhead costs of a surgical abortion, allow Planned Parenthood to make even more money while preying on young women and violating FDA regulations,” King added. “Eight percent of women who take the abortion drug known as RU-486 require surgical intervention to complete their abortion. This new practice leaves those women at grave risk, and should never be supported with taxpayer dollars. Telemed abortions threaten and endanger women and we should not allow Planned Parenthood to maximize their profits. We cannot let this practice continue.”

Some 47 members of Congress introduced the Telemedicine Safety Act with King in order to set safeguards in place to ensure no federal funds are used to pay for “telemed abortions” and prohibit telemedicine abortions across state lines.

The webcam abortion practice started with the Planned Parenthood of the Heartland affiliate using it in Iowa, a rural state where the abortion business has a difficult time getting an abortion practitioner to each of its clinics. As a result, it set up a process by which the abortion practitioner only visits with the woman considering using the mifepristone abortion pill via a videoconference, as opposed to an in-person visit as the FDA suggests.

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.



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 if 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.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill to ban webcam abortions while Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed one.