Wisconsin law on WebCam abortions intact

By Dave Andrusko

Planned Parenthood sues at the drop of a hat, indeed they’d sue, if they could, while the hat is being made. Take Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, for example.

They’ve just reached an understanding with the state Department of Justice about a piece of 2012 legislation titled the “Coercive and Web Cam Abortion Prevention Act”—“stipulations,” to use the legal jargon, about what providers of chemical abortions must do to be in compliance. ( U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb must approve the agreement.)

If you remember from previous NRL News Today stories, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin charged into U.S. District Court in Madison to challenge the law that requires that prior to prescription of an abortion-inducing drug—typically RU486– the prescriber must perform a physical exam on the woman and be actually present to give her the prescription.

In its lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin argued that Act 217 ”is unconstitutionally vague.” So what got “clarified”? It’s really arcane, but you begin by recalling that “chemical”/RU486 abortions involve two separate drugs. The first drug kills the baby, the second (a prostaglandin) stimulates contractions to expel the baby’s remains.

The Wisconsin law requires that the abortionist in person gives the woman the prescription for the abortifacient. It is this safeguard for the mother that so-called “web cam” [or “telemedicine”] abortions omit.  The abortionist who could be hundreds of miles away from the mother, dispenses the powerful abortifacient via video conference, making a mockery of the legitimate use of telemedicine.

The agreement reached with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is that the abortionist makes a good faith effort to determine that her decision to abort is voluntary, not coerced.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin stopped performing webcam abortions last April on the grounds that they didn’t understand what was required of  them.

Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, told NRL News Today, “Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin began a phony lawsuit challenging the new Wisconsin law which requires an in person exam and consultation prior to an abortion.  PPWI’s claim that provisions in the law were unclear resulted in a settlement which leaves the law intact. Web cam consultations prior to abortion were prohibited prior to the settlement, and are still prohibited.”