Idaho Senate committee votes 7-2 to curb web-cam abortions, bill on its way to the full Senate

House has already passed bill

By Dave Andrusko

Randall K. O'Bannon, Ph.D.

Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D.

A bill to require Idaho abortionists to perform in-person exams when they use chemical abortifacients has now passed both the full state House and a Senate committee.

Earlier this morning, the Senate State Affairs Committee passed the Physician Physical Presence Women Protection Act of 2015 on a vote of 7-2. The measure is now on its way to the full Senate.

As NRL News Today reported last week,  the house voted 55-17 in favor of HB 154 which also requires that abortionists make “all reasonable efforts” to ensure that women return between 12 and 18 days after their abortions for follow-up examinations.

Currently, 18 states have laws on the books which say abortionists cannot avoid the duty of being in the same room as the pregnant woman. (Sixteen are in force, two are being litigated.) But having abortionists at a remote center far from the pregnant woman is at the core of “webcam” abortions.

On February 23, Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s director of Education, testified before the House State Affairs Committee.

Dr. O’Bannon carefully summarized how webcam abortions work and the much-underreported dangers of chemical abortions.

In webcam abortions an abortionist located at a hub clinic teleconferences with a woman at one of the smaller satellite offices, reviews her case, and asks a couple of perfunctory questions. If satisfied, he clicks a mouse, remotely unlocking a drawer at her location.

In that drawer are the abortion pills which make up the two-drug abortion technique (RU-486 and a prostaglandin). She takes the RU-486 there and takes the rest of the pills home to administer to herself later.

Dr. O’Bannon read from the tally from a postmarketing summary on mifepristone published by the FDA on April 30, 2011.

* more than 2,200 reports of “adverse events” or complications (2,207)

* more than 600 women (612) hospitalized

* more than 300 (339) requiring transfusions

* 256 women reported infections, with 48 of them classified as severe

* 58 cases of ectopic pregnancies, which the pills do not treat

Sometimes these complications prove deadly.

The FDA knew of at least 14 deaths associated with use of these drugs in the U.S. and at least five more in other countries. And that was nearly four years ago!

“As the testimony demonstrates, it is in Planned Parenthood’s interest to make this a discussion over telemedicine, in general, rather than the unique risks associated with chemical abortion and what telemedicine does to compound those risks,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, NRLC Director of State Legislation.

Balch noted that telemedicine is not currently used for any other invasive procedures in this country or anything similar to abortion. It is mainly used for primary care doctors to share charts, X-rays and other vitals with specialists, or to monitor medical devices in use by patients to measure things like heart ECGs and blood glucose levels, or to help consumers get specialized information, participate in discussion groups or for medical education.

Use of telemedicine for abortion is inappropriate because there is no doctor to examine the woman before the abortion or to give follow-up care in the case of an emergency,” Balch told NRL News Today.

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