The number of abortions in Iowa has dropped 30 percent in the last five years and a pro-life group says they will fall further if the state bans the practice of webcam abortions.
The Planned Parenthood abortion business installed the webcam abortion system in 2008 in part because it was having problems getting abortion practitioners to come from other states regularly to do abortions. But that hasn’t raised the number of abortions.
In fact, one study found that abortions are declining in the state even as Planned Parenthood does more.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland installed the system in 2008 to allow its doctors in Des Moines to dispense abortion pills to women in clinics around the state. The system made abortions available in towns where no one else offered them. But it did not make abortions more common, state data show. In fact, the numbers have dropped from 6,649 in 2007 to 4,648 in 2012.
The system, the first of its kind in the nation, will be debated Wednesday during a public hearing before the Iowa Board of Medicine. Opponents say the system exposes women to potentially dangerous drugs without making a physician readily available to help patients deal with complications.
Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, believes abortions would become rarer if the video system is banned.
But she said people on her side also are concerned about the safety of patients who use the system.
“We can do both, can’t we?” she said. “We can care about women, and we can care about babies.”
Bowen said she’s unsure of the accuracy of the abortion trend numbers, which are collected by the Iowa Department of Public Health. State law requires medical providers to report every abortion they provide, but Bowen suspects some go unreported.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
However, she said she hopes it’s true that abortions are becoming less common in Iowa.
Bowen said part of the explanation for a decline in abortions is that groups like hers have become more active. They’ve held numerous prayer vigils outside abortion clinics. They’ve also started about 70 “crisis pregnancy centers” around the state.
Helping to lower the number of abortions, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the Iowa affiliate of the nation’s biggest abortion business, closed two centers last June and another in February 2012. In March of last year, Planned Parenthood closed two webcam abortion centers.