A Maine abortion clinic chain plans to begin selling chemical abortion drugs via webcam, making Maine the third state to allow the dangerous procedure.
The Portland Press Herald reports the Maine Family Planning abortion group, based in Augusta, announced plans Monday to begin offering the webcam abortions at 16 regional clinics in the state. The abortion clinic said women would consult with a doctor on a webcam at one of the regional clinics before being given the first of two chemical abortion drugs, according to the report. The woman would take the first drug at the clinic and the second drug at home, the report states.
The Maine abortion clinic is targeting women in rural areas. The group told the newspaper the webcam abortions will be more convenient and less costly for women in rural parts of the state.
Carroll Conley of the Christian Civic League of Maine told the newspaper that webcam abortions fly “in the face of common sense.” She said many people have very serious safety concerns about abortion doctors skipping face-to-face meetings with their patients.
The Maine abortion group claims the procedure is safe, but several studies have shown the opposite to be true. Chemical abortions, usually the drug regimen RU 486, can be very dangerous to the woman as well as her unborn child, especially if not medically supervised, as is the case with webcam abortions.
According to April 2011 FDA figures, there were 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.
The chemical abortion regimen RU 486 is administered between the fifth and ninth weeks of pregnancy, after pregnancy has been confirmed. 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.
According to the FDA, at least two women died from ruptured ectopic pregnancies after using RU 486. Medical supervision, which will be lacking with the new Maine webcam abortions, could prevent deaths like these. The FDA recommends that women see an abortion doctor in person prior to having a chemical abortion.
Webcam abortions, sometimes called telemed abortions, have become more prevalent since a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Iowa first began testing them in 2008.
According to Iowa Right to Life: “Since 2008, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has used women in Iowa as guinea pigs for a program they want rolled out nationwide, where women are having medication (RU-486) abortions after talking to a doctor only by webcam. They offer these abortions through 63 days into a pregnancy. (Well past the FDA recommendation of 49 days). This perversion of good tele-medicine technology is putting women in danger and it must stop. These abortions take longer and are bloodier than a surgical abortion. … These abortions are more profitable for Planned Parenthood, but more traumatic for women, who have to deal with the body of the dead baby at home.”
In 2013, the Iowa Board of Medicine issued administrative regulations that required physicians to perform in-person physical examinations on women before prescribing the abortion pills. This essentially banned the webcam abortion practice in Iowa.
However, in June 2015, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on webcam abortions after Planned Parenthood sued the state for trying to protect the health ad safety of women.
Currently, 18 states have laws on the books that say abortionists must be in the same room as the pregnant woman, with 16 enforced and two facing lawsuits from the abortion industry.