Louisiana House Passes Bill to Ban Dangerous Webcam Abortions

State   Steven Ertelt   May 30, 2013   |   2:42PM    Baton Rouge, LA

The Louisiana state house has approved a bill that would prohibit the controversial use of webcam abortions. This legislation protects women from those in the abortion industry who seek to profit from RU 486 abortions by providing sub-standard care to women.

RU 486, the two-drug regimen, can cause severe bleeding and cramping. It can fail to abort the baby and can cause birth defects. Often these women deliver a dead baby by themselves. The drug can cause toxic shock and death. The FDA requires the notice of the possibility of death on the label of Mifeprex, the first pill taken.

From the New Orleans’ newspaper:

A bill banning a practice known as “telemedicine abortions,” where a doctor can remotely authorize abortion-inducing drugs, breezed through the Louisiana House Wednesday.

Senate Bill 90 by Sen. Fred Mills, R-Breaux Bridge, would prohibit doctors from using an Internet webcam service, such as Skype, to authorize the administration of abortion drugs to a pregnant woman.

The bill requires a doctor who has completed or is currently enrolled in a residency in obstetrics and gynecology or family medicine to be in the room when drugs, such as Mifeprex, are administered, intended to induce abortions up to nine weeks into a pregnancy.

“This will prevent anyone without that special training from performing an abortion and endangering a pregnant woman’s health,” said Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe. Hoffmann carried the bill for Mills on the House floor.

“It’s amazing to me that a person can actually have a procedure of this magnitude without having someone in the room with them,” Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, has said.

The bill was passed 99-3 and now heads to the Senate for final passage.

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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 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.