Michigan lawmakers moved forward with a bill Tuesday to protect women from dangerous webcam abortions.
WNMU Public Radio reports the legislation passed the state House health policy committee after proponents said doctors should be present for the dangerous abortion procedures. The state Senate passed the bill last week.
Women who have webcam, or telemed, abortions do not see a doctor face to face. Instead, they chat with the abortionist through a computer before a nurse or a remote-controlled drawer dispenses the abortion drugs. There is no physical examination of the woman by the doctor either. After drugs are dispensed, the patient probably never sees the doctor again. Instead, she returns home and waits to pass her aborted baby’s body.
The Michigan legislation would permanently ban webcam abortions in the state. It would protect women by requiring that the abortionist conduct a physical exam of the patient first and then dispense the abortion drugs in person.
The AP reports Michigan already has a law requiring these safety measures, but it is slated to expire at the end of December; the new legislation would make the protections permanent.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists are lobbying against it, and pro-life advocates say it’s because the bill hurts the abortion industry’s bottom line.
“They already utilize the abortion pill as a cost-saving measure over a surgical abortion,” Right to Life of Michigan wrote on its blog. “How much more money could the abortion industry save if the abortionist can be 500 miles away, dispensing abortion pills with the push of a button after a quick video conference?”
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Here’s more from the AP:
Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, who voted against the measure, said “there is no medical, scientific or legal argument for banning telemedicine use in these circumstances.” She said the ban unfairly targets women, particularly those in rural areas with a lack of OB-GYN access, while Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan said delivering abortion-inducing drugs through telehealth “is just as safe and effective as in-person protocols.”
But Genevieve Marnon, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan, said the restriction is not new and aligns with prohibitions passed in 19 other states and recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration.
“Women who want a chemical abortion can still access them in the state of Michigan,” she said. “This prevents people from Skyping with a doctor a hundred, thousands of miles away. If they have a complication, who are they going to follow up with?”
Research suggests webcam abortions also are more dangerous than surgical abortions. An analysis of a University of California San Francisco study found that women who had webcam abortions had four times higher risk of complications.
Despite these risks, Planned Parenthood announced intentions earlier this year to open at least 10 new webcam abortion locations across the country. It currently performs webcam abortions at 24 locations in America.
“Planned Parenthood ran a profit of nearly $100 million dollars according to their latest annual report, but their idea of increasing access to ‘healthcare’ for women is cutting corners and making an even bigger mockery of the doctor-patient relationship for abortion procedures,” the pro-life group wrote.