Right to Life of Michigan is calling on Governor Rick Snyder to sign SB 1198 to make our state’s ban on webcam abortions permanent.
“Governor Snyder signed our state’s ban into law originally, and we hope he will now make it permanent,” said Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing.
A webcam abortion involves a medical abortion using the RU-486/mifepristone pill regimen. The abortionist speaks remotely with a woman using a video camera, pushes a button to open a drawer containing the abortion pills, and the woman takes the pills. The abortionist never physically examines the woman.
Right to Life of Michigan supported legislation to ban this practice in 2012. The original webcam abortion ban was signed into law by Governor Snyder. The law contained a sunset provision and will expire at the end of 2018.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at least 22 women have died taking the abortion pill. Because of potential side effects, the FDA requires abortion pill distributors to undergo risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS). The FDA states the abortion pill may only be dispensed under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider who can diagnose ectopic pregnancies accurately and provide access to follow-up emergency care.
Listing said, “Having an abortionist talk to a woman he’s never met via a webcam may save the abortion facility money, but cheap medicine is not safe medicine. Planned Parenthood should follow the FDA guidelines, not try to expand abortion by cutting corners.”
FDA guidelines for the abortion pill were recently revisited in 2016, and the REMS requirements were maintained.
Planned Parenthood in Michigan claims the practice is safe and no different than other telemedicine practices. But the revised FDA guidelines reflect the continued need for a licensed doctor to be physically present and available to give adequate follow-up care.
“Planned Parenthood in Michigan already has a poor record of follow-up care,” Listing said. “Cree Erwin died following a botched abortion at Planned Parenthood’s Kalamazoo facility in 2016. If they can’t provide adequate follow-up care now, how will they do it when the woman is hundreds of miles away?”
According to statistics reported to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, only two percent of women are referred to the abortionist by a physician. Most women meet the abortionist only briefly before the procedure. Common telemedicine consultations involve an actual relationship between the patient and the provider.
“The abortion industry says abortion has to be legal because it’s between a woman and her doctor,” Listing said. “Now they want to make it between only a woman and a webcam.”
The Michigan House passed SB 1998 on December 12, 2018, by a vote of 62 to 47. The Michigan Senate passed the bill on November 29, 2018, by a vote of 25 to 12. The Michigan Senate concurred with slight changes to the bill on December 18, 2018.