Innovating ... or Increasing the Risk to Women?
Part Two of Three
By Randall K. O'Bannon,
Ph.D., NRL-ETF Director of Education & Research
Randall k. O'Bannon, Ph.D.
To most of us, exposing
women to danger and abandoning them is obviously foolhardy and
irresponsible. Some others see this as pioneering work. I give
you Kathleen Reeves, writing at the pro-abortion site
What she is discussing in
her August 23, 2010, column is Planned Parenthood of the
Heartland's new "telemedicine" program in Iowa. Planned
Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) has set up a video
conferencing system at many of its smaller or more remote
clinics. The abortionist, located at a larger office in Des
Moines, uses a closed circuit to talk with a woman he sees over
a computer video screen.
If she indicates she wants
a chemical abortion and he is satisfied with her responses to a
few medical questions, the abortionist clicks a mouse which
releases a drawer miles away at her location. Inside is the
abortifacient RU486 and the powerful prostaglandin misoprostol
which stimulates the contractions needed to expel the tiny
The woman never actually
is in the same room as the doctor and he never does an actual
If there is a problem--and
complications like hemorrhage, infection, and gastrointestinal
distress have occurred with some frequency with the use of
RU486--she will probably have to seek help elsewhere, since her
abortionist is miles away. Worse yet, the nearest ER may not be
that close either, and the doctors there may be unfamiliar with
her condition or the chemical abortion process and its
At least a dozen women
have died after taking these powerful abortion drugs, and that
was before this latest "innovation."
Addressing the charge that
PPH's telemedical abortions may not be legal because they are
not "performed by a physician"--as Iowa law requires-- RHReality
Check's Reeves argues that the abortionist fulfills his
obligation by counseling the woman.
"True, medication abortion
straddles the line between procedure and prescription: while the
physician only acts insofar as giving a woman two pills, the
more significant part of the procedure is the counseling that
precedes it," Reeves says. The physician's role, she argues, is
in sharing his "knowledge" and "expertise" in the initial video
conference (RHRealityCheck, 8/23/10).
This would be laughable if
the stakes weren't so high. No child was ever aborted by mere
counseling. The risk a woman faces is not from the doctor
sharing his "expertise," but from her ingesting the pills and
experiencing the consequences and the complications that come
with the abortion.
When these pills "work,"
they do not simply target the unborn child, but the woman's
reproductive and other systems. They initiate copious bleeding,
painful cramps, and often nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some
women have experienced heart palpitations, drops in blood
pressure, dizziness. A number of women do not abort or do not
have a complete abortion, requiring some surgical intervention.
If women are going to
choose to use this risky method, they need to be closely
monitored and they need to have medical help close at hand, not
hundreds of miles away.
Reeves helps make this case when she notes the dearth of
facilities and qualified physicians available to women in rural
areas. "These clinics tend to be few and far between, with small
staffs, and thus, most likely, limited hours."
Reeves tries to claim that
"the most substantive and often difficult part of an abortion
happens before a woman visits a clinic....the abortion
procedure, whether surgical or by medication, is uncomplicated
and very low-risk. The complicated part is the choice, and for
that a woman doesn't need a doctor."
Ok – so what happened to
the idea that abortion was supposed to be a matter "between a
woman and her doctor?" It turns out that that old slogan was
only a ruse, making it sound like there might be some medical
necessity involved in the decision. In truth, it was just a
cover all along for the sort of abortion on demand Reeves now
When a woman is bleeding
to death, a phone call isn't going to suffice. When she has
retained tissue from an incomplete abortion, a videoconference
isn't going to do her any good. When she's suffering an allergic
reaction to the medicine, she needs something more than computer
She needs a doctor who
will be there, who will take responsibility for her case, who
will personally ensure that she gets the care that she needs.
A woman gets none of that
with her long distance doctor.
If and when her moment of
crisis comes, there's a good chance she'll be all alone.
That hardly sounds like
something to celebrate.
Sounds like the folks at
RHRealityCheck need a reality check of their own.
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