A growing number of abortions are not happening “between a woman and her doctor” anymore.
Once a common phrase among abortion activists, it has given way to demands for more abortion access and calls for the elimination of health and safety regulations.
Now, a growing number of abortions start with a woman and a computer screen — or, posing as a woman, an abusive boyfriend or sex trafficker – and no doctor’s visit at all.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups have been selling abortion drugs via telemedicine for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic gave them an excuse to expand. Telemedicine involves “meeting” with an abortionist via webcam before receiving abortion drugs from a nurse or a remote-control drawer.
Meanwhile, online abortion businesses also have been popping up, selling abortion drugs to women through the mail.
“Over the past year, new virtual clinics have begun delivering medication abortion entirely remotely,” Rachel Rebouché, a professor at Temple University School of Law, and Ushma Upadhyay, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote at USA Today.
To the academics, this is a good thing. These new “virtual” abortion facilities “offer ‘no touch’ services for people less than 10 weeks pregnant. Patients complete a medical history form online, consult with a clinician over video or telephone, and if eligible, receive two medications from a mail-order pharmacy,” Rebouché and Upadhyay wrote.
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They left out the part about how, after the woman takes the pills at home, she suffers intense pain and bleeding before expelling her aborted baby’s body into the toilet.
The academics pointed to a UC San Francisco study that suggests these new, non-doctor “virtual” abortions are “safe.” The study is being conducted by abortion activists who have a stake in the debate.
They did not mention the many problems raised by “virtual abortions,” such as how women who seek abortions online can know, without seeing a doctor, how far along they are in their pregnancy. Abortion drugs do not work well after 10 weeks of pregnancy. Nor did they mention how abortion drugs can be deadly to the woman if she has an undetected ectopic pregnancy – something a doctor’s visit would detect.
Abortion activists also are specifically marketing the drugs to African American and Latino women and women in rural areas, vulnerable groups that are less likely to have access to good medical care. This raises serious concerns about what happens if they experience complications at home while aborting their unborn baby and need medical attention.
Then there is the problem of coercion and abuse. LifeNews has reported many, many stories of women and girls who were pressured or forced to abort their unborn babies. In one recent case, a Wisconsin man was accused of buying abortion drugs online and slipping them into his pregnant girlfriend’s drink after she refused to have an abortion.
The FDA requires that the abortion drug mifepristone be provided in-person by a medical professional to a woman who is up to 10 weeks pregnant. Many states, including Ohio and Montana, also are enacting legislation to prohibit telemedicine and mail-order abortions.
And for good reason. The drug is dangerous and can be deadly to the mother as well as her unborn baby. In the United States, mifepristone has been linked to at least 24 women’s deaths and 4,000 serious complications. Risks include excessive bleeding, severe abdominal pain, infection and hemorrhage.
A 2009 study “Immediate Complications After Medical Compared With Surgical Termination of Pregnancy,” in Obstetrics and Gynecology found a complication rate of approximately 20 percent for the abortion drugs compared to 5.6 percent for surgical abortions. Hemorrhages and incomplete abortions were among the most common complications.
Even pro-abortion President Barack Obama’s administration did not do away with the regulations for mifepristone. His administration did loosen the regulations by allowing the drug to be prescribed later in pregnancy and allowing non-doctors to provide it, but it kept other regulations in place to protect women’s safety.
Abortion drugs account for about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group.
During the pandemic, a judge ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to temporarily lift restrictions on the abortion drugs, allowing them to be sold to women virtually without having to see a doctor in person. Another court later reinstated the safety regulations after President Donald Trump’s administration appealed the ruling.
So, for now, “these virtual clinics cannot use mail-order pharmacies to deliver medications to their patients,” Rebouché and Upadhyay wrote.
They hope that will change soon, however. Many pro-abortion groups are putting pressure on President Joe Biden’s administration to abandon the FDA safety regulations and allow abortion drugs to be sold through the mail.
Meanwhile, pro-life leaders are working hard to advance protections for mothers and unborn babies. They have been urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to protect lives by keeping the safety regulations in place.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, recently told the AP, “No woman deserves to be subjected to the gruesome process of a chemical abortion potentially hours away from the physician who prescribed her the drugs.”