The Coronavirus pandemic has tested our health care system as never before. But amid the tremendous challenge, health care providers have responded with innovation and grace. Among the tools they have been using during the global health care crisis is telemedicine.
Telemedicine, or Telehealth, involves the ability of medical professionals to diagnose and treat patients remotely by means of telecommunications, such as computers and iPhones. The health care trend has been hailed as a breakthrough in medical care, especially in this time of COVID-19.
Pennsylvania had an opportunity to expand telemedicine and ease the strain on our medical system with Senate Bill 857, which recently passed both the PA House of Representatives and the state Senate.
As the bill’s sponsor, Senator Elder Vogel (R-47th district) stated, “Through the use of telemedicine, specialists and other health care providers are able to expand their reach, helping rural patients stay in their communities and avoid traveling long distances for specialized care.”
Yet, Governor Tom Wolf (D) vetoed the bill, bringing medical progress to a halt. His veto came as a response to his efforts to placate the abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, one of his major campaign contributors.
The bill contained a much-needed provision that certain dangerous drugs could not be distributed via telemedicine. Among them was the highly controversial abortion pill RU486. Demonstrated side-effects of RU486 include excessive bleeding, vomiting, nausea, and painful uterine contractions. Even proponent Time magazine referred to the chemical abortion process as “painful, messy, and protracted.”
Research indicates that as many as 2 percent of women who take RU486 hemorrhage and more than 1 in 100 need hospitalization. Contrary to what advocates say, the two-drug abortion technique is neither “simple” nor “convenient,” since the procedure involves three trips to the doctor over a two week span of time. In 4 to 5 percent of cases, the pills “fail” to result in a complete abortion, requiring the women to return to the abortion facility for a surgical abortion.
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Pennsylvania Senators who supported the telemedicine bill, such as Senator John Yudichak (I-14th district), are to be commended for their efforts to expand telemedicine, while attempting to keep women safe.
But Governor Wolf and the abortion industry have teamed up once again in an unholy alliance against medical progress. In the midst of a pandemic, they resorted to pro-abortion politics to sink a finely-crafted bill.
As Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R-25th district) stated,
“Now more than ever, the need for telemedicine continues to grow. The Governor’s politically motivated veto means that many Pennsylvanians, especially in rural communities, will not receive quality care that can save the lives of children, adults and seniors who cannot otherwise access the care of a medical professional. Telemedicine should be a part of our health system now, and after this pandemic is over.”
Political game-playing in a pandemic is especially dangerous. Sadly, Gov. Wolf, a former Planned Parenthood volunteer “escort,” sacrificed public safety to appease the abortion lobby with his veto of SB 857. The only check on his authority is the state legislators who are willing to courageously and unapologetically stand up for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.