Missouri: Measure to Prohibit Webcam Abortions Sitting on Governor’s Desk

State   |   Joe Ortwerth   |   Jun 4, 2013   |   12:21PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

The Missouri General Assembly has sent Governor Jay Nixon legislation which would regulate the use of the chemical abortion drug RU-486. House Bill 400, sponsored by Representative Jeanie Riddle of  Mokane, would require that RU-486 only be administered in the presence of a physician.

RU-486 is part of a lethal drug regimen used to perform “do-it-yourself” abortions at home. A woman is given a series of drugs to induce a non-surgical abortion. Mifepristone is taken to cause the unborn child to detach from the uterus. Then the drug Misoprostol is used two days later to force contractions and deliver a dead child. This chemical abortion process is generally available during the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Abortion providers advise women that use of the drug regimen results in a “natural miscarriage.” Women are advised to expel the “fetal tissue” into the toilet at home and flush the remains away. What abortion providers don’t tell women is the horror of seeing a human  embryo discharged from their body and the substantial risks the drug poses to their own health.

RU-486 is a dangerous drug that has done extensive harm to women who have used it. The Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that at least 14 women have died since the drug has been on the market, and more than 2200 have been injured as a result of its use.

Mifepristone often instigates excessive and relentless hemorraghing. Over 300 women experienced blood loss serious enough to require a blood transfusion, and over 600 required hospitalization, many as a result of sepsis. One of the grave complications is that use of the drug  may result in an “incomplete abortion.” One study showed that 20 percent of chemical abortions require subsequent surgical intervention to remove “retained fetal tissue.”

Representative Riddle’s bill is designed to prohibit the establishment in Missouri of a process often referred to as “webcam abortions.” Under this scheme, pioneered by Planned Parenthood in Iowa, women are administered the drug without ever meeting a physician face to face.

Women in a remote location communicate with a physician over an internet “video conference.” The physician then releases a vending machine-type device at the remote site where the woman is located. The woman gathers the drugs and takes them home to proceed with her DIY abortion.

The new Planned Parenthood scheme is considered by many to be a growing business model for the abortion  industry. Abortion providers are having a hard time recruiting doctors and medical staff, particularly outside large metropolitan areas. Webcam abortions enable abortion operators to “serve” small towns and rural areas with limited or non-existent on-site medical staff.

“While it is tragic and heartbreaking when a woman makes the choice to abort her baby, we want to make certain she has face-to-face contact with her doctor and that she has the proper care she needs when considering this procedure,” says Representative Riddle.

The bill stipulates that the initial dose of the RU-486 regimen must be administered “in the same room and in  the physical presence of the physician who prescribed, dispensed, or otherwise provided the drug or chemical to the patient.”

Representative Riddle’s bill was approved by the House by a decisive margin of 115-39. It was endorsed by the Senate by a vote of 23-7. The bill was handled in the Senate by Senator Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau, who sponsored a similar bill in that chamber.

The bill adopted by the Legislature this year is a scaled-down version of legislation approved by the Missouri House in prior years sponsored by Representative Andrew Koenig of St. Louis County. That proposal was much more comprehensive in scope in line with existing provisions of Missouri abortion law requiring informed consent.

Representative Koenig’s bill required that the physician physically examine the patient, including a determination as to whether the woman had an ectopic pregnancy. The physician would have been required to furnish the woman with the FDA labels for the drugs detailing the complications that may result from its use.

Koenig’s bill would have stipulated that RU-486 could only be administered in a hospital or licensed ambulatory surgical facility. The physician administering the drug would have been required to have local hospital privileges. The physician would have also been required to carry adequate medical malpractice insurance.

Reliable estimates are that more than 15 percent of all abortions performed each year occur through chemical  abortion. It is expected that this risky alternative to surgical abortion will continue to grow in the generation to come for women in the early stages of pregnancy. It enables the abortion industry to churn out profits without the hassle of seeing patients in person.



Planned Parenthood continues to ignore the FDA’s own recommendations for use of the drug: “…that the drug be provided by or under the supervision of a physician [who has the] ability to assess the duration of the pregnancy; ability to diagnose ectopic pregnancies; and the ability to provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding…”

We encourage you to contact Governor Nixon to urge him to sign House Bill 400. You can do so by using this link:
Governor Nixon

LifeNews.com Note:  Joe Ortwerth writes for the Missouri Family Policy Council.