Nebraska RTL Fights “Web-Cam” Abortions

By Dave Andrusko

“We are going forward in western Nebraska because people need us there as well” [Planned Parenthood of the Heartland president Jill] June said. — From Saturday’s Chicago Tribune.

Jill June, president Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

A quick thank you to Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, director of education for National Right to Life, for an outstanding story last Friday that revealed still another instance of Planned Parenthood’s insatiable thirst to swallow up other clinics and to extend its already enormous capacity to perform abortions into every nook and cranny in America.

I bring the topic up today because Nebraska Right to Life is fighting Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH), the subject of Dr. O’Bannon’s April 15 article, to ensure that what happened in Iowa does not happen in Nebraska: the performance of abortion via web-cam using the abortifacient RU-486.

As detailed on the National Right to Life Factsheet, there have been at least eleven deaths associated with the use of RU486 [www.nrlc.org/Factsheets/FS15_pilldanger.pdf] and thousands of complications.

In 2009 PPH took over the Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs affiliate. On April 14– the very day the U.S. Senate was voting 58-42 not to end federal funding of PPFA and 102 named affiliates—PPH opened its new abortion clinic in Omaha.

At the ribbon cutting, the Associated Press reported that PPH president Jill June announced that the affiliate would be opening a dozen new clinics in Nebraska and Iowa over the next five years, six in each state. The six in Nebraska are Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, and North Platte. With the exception of Grand Island, all are cities under 30,000 population, according to the latest census.

Previously in Nebraska, only the clinic in Lincoln performed abortions. There were two clinics in Omaha, neither of which performed abortions. The new facility replaced one of the older clinic and is doing abortions. But it would seem clear that PPH’s new set up is tailor made for web-cam abortion expansion.

Nebraska RTL is being pro-active.  LB 521 would make it a standard of care that the abortionist must be physically present when administering a chemical abortion. That would effectively stop Web Cam abortions from being performed with an abortionist sitting in one location and merely viewing the young woman over computer screen who is a remote location.

But as of today, the measure is stuck in the Judiciary Committee. LB 521 needs to be voted out of the Judiciary Committee and onto the floor by early May week. The timing is crucial because the legislative session will end soon.

PPH began offering web-cam abortions in 2008. Under the webcam system, an abortionist, maybe from a clinic in a large urban center, communicates with a woman at a remote location by means of a video conferencing system.

After a brief screening and “counseling” session, he clicks a mouse and triggers the opening of a drawer from which the woman takes out the two drugs that make up the “RU-486″ chemical abortion regimen: mifepristone and misoprostol.

By January of 2011 sixteen of the PPH’s clinics in Iowa were tied into the webcam system. As of that same date PPH says more than 2,000 women have received webcam abortions.

“Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s announcement that they want to spread to six college towns in outstate Nebraska highlights the need for the Legislature to pass LB 521 this session.” said Julie Schmit-Albin, Executive Director of Nebraska Right to Life. “We have a chance to stop Web Cam RU-486 chemical abortions before Planned Parenthood spreads its new business model all across our State.”

I would very much appreciate your help by way of  feedback on National Right to Life News Today. Please send your comments to daveandrusko@gmail.com. If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/daveha

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