NPR completely overlooks dangers of chemical abortions, uncritically rehashes pro-abortion criticisms of laws regulating webcam abortions

By Dave Andrusko

RU486Two days ago we posted a story—“NPR says a few kind words about CPCs before lowering the hammer”—based on a report by NPR’s Jennifer Ludden. To her credit, before Ludden eviscerated crisis pregnancy centers, she did offer a true-to-life story where a young woman was treated with great kindness, delivered her baby, and, with the help of the CPC, placed her baby for adoption.

However in her story posted the next day—“States Aim To Restrict Medically Induced Abortions”—with the exception of a throwaway quote from the president of Ohio RTL, Ludden didn’t bother with even the semblance of balance.

There are two dimensions of legislative attempts to ensure that women who undergo chemical (RU-486) abortions receive the best possible care. Ludden’s piece hammers them both.

In Ohio, Planned Parenthood was in court from 2004 until 2012, battling a law which required that the two-drug RU-486 abortion technique be administered consistent with the protocol established by the FDA. In 2012. the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Ohio’s law. (Other courts have come to different conclusions.)

That protocol involves, among other things, the number of pills of each drug that are used, how they are administered, and how far into pregnancy they can be used (seven weeks).

For all their talk about women, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics changed the doses, winding up administering more of the (much) cheaper drug than the more expensive drug. This greatly increased their profit margin.

And Ludden uncritically accepts assurances that it is just as safe for women to undergo chemical abortions in the ninth week as the seventh week. The suggestion in Ludden’s story is that tinkering with the protocol began after FDA approval in 2000. In fact, pro-abortionists tried to win some of those changes ahead of time but the FDA rejected them. They then simply began making changes on their own.

The other dimension is requiring that abortionists be in the same room as the pregnant woman and, in some instances, perform a physical exam. While this is good medicine, this also cuts into Planned Parenthood’s profits. Why? …

Because so-called web-cam (or telemed) abortions are premised on the abortionist being able to perform many, many more abortions than he could if he had to be at the same locale as the woman. How? …

Via videoconferencing where the abortionist can be hundreds of miles away. He goes through a perfunctory check-list and then by remote control opens a drawer which contains the two abortifacient drugs.

The key player here is Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. PPH is a giant affiliate, whose home base is Iowa. It has performed upwards of 7,000 webcam abortions since 2008. This is an unmitigated good to Ludden because, we read, Iowa’s telemedicine program “has not increased the overall number of abortions in Ohio, but a study found it has shifted more of them to the first trimester of pregnancy.”

While it is true that there were more first-trimester abortions, as NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon has explained, the way the study has been touted is very, very misleading on any number of grounds.

First of all, because the baby is smaller, first-trimester surgical abortions are safer than second or third trimester abortions. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that first-trimester chemical abortions would be safer than surgical abortions performed later: surgical abortions and chemical abortions have their own individual risks, according to Dr. O’Bannon.


And why didn’t the number of abortions go down in Iowa at the same time the numbers were going down all over the country? Because the greater use of chemical abortions allowed PPH to offset what would otherwise have been a decline

And, of course, the whole point of webcam abortions is to bring abortion to “underserved” rural areas. The deeper PPH invests in webcam abortions, the more abortions will take place in rural areas, the larger the overall number.

And the point to keep in mind is that to the Abortion Industry there are never enough abortions; someone, somewhere is always “underserved.”

The last and very important point from Ludden’s story. There have been thousands of “adverse events” for women who have undergone RU-486 abortions and at least 14 deaths in the US and five overseas. Supporters are completely undaunted. Not a single syllable about that, of course, in Ludden’s story.

But one might ask how many of these from “modifications” and “innovations” the abortion industry considered “safe enough” for women?

The story ends with a quote from the vice president of an organization whose institutional mission it is to spread abortion worldwide. Dan Grossman is almost giddy at the prospect of do-it-yourself, oh-so-safe chemical abortions:

“It would really be quite easy for women to actually use this on their own,” Grossman says, “and potentially access this medication directly from a pharmacy. It could almost be eligible for the kind of medication that could be available over the counter.”

Maybe Ludden might have looked a little harder for a second opinion.