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What a coincidence! Now that five states have taken the initiative against web-cam abortions (with more in the wings), lo and behold a study appears in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology touting the wonderfulness of a “procedure” in which the abortionist is not even in the room with the woman as she ingests the chemical abortifacient RU486.

So, who is the lead author of “Effectiveness and Acceptability of Medical Abortion Provided Through Telemedicine”? Daniel Grossman, described as an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California-San Francisco and a senior associate at the research organization Ibis Reproductive Health.

If you look Dr. Grossman up, he has impeccable pro-abortion credentials. They include a stay at the Population Council (which included “training on medication abortion”). At Ibis Reproductive Health we learn his work includes “women’s experiences with misoprostol abortion” and “improving access” to “safe abortion in the US, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.”

And this doesn’t even touch the University of California-San Francisco connection. USCF is an absolute hotbed of abortion activism and has been for almost a half a century.

“It would be difficult to exaggerate how prominent an abortion proponent UCSF has been over the decades,” says NRLC Education Director Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon. “Their high-profile abortion advocacy goes back to the 1960s.” (For a fascinating overview of UCSF, see www.nrlc.org/NewsToday/HighPowered.html).

So, not exactly an impartial observer. Grossman’s mission statement might read “extend chemical abortion everywhere in the known galaxy.”

Just so we don’t miss the point, the headline in what appears to be the first popular press account of the study reads, “Abortions via ‘telemedicine’ are safe, effective, Iowa study finds: Women don’t need face-to-face contact to take RU-486; doctors supervise remotely.” (The story was written by  Linda Carroll for msnbc.com.)

With webcam abortions (called “telemedicine” by supporters) an abortionist, perhaps 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.

According to Grossman between November 2008 and October 2009 they interviewed women in Iowa who were seeking RU486 abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics. 223 elected to have a webcam abortion. The remaining 226 chose a “face-to-face physician visit.” Grossman reports everything was virtually the same for the two groups, including complications (“adverse events”) and satisfaction.

The lone negative, according to Grossman et al., is that 25% of the women who had a webcam abortion later said they would have preferred being in the same room as the abortionist.

Likewise the lone negative note in Carroll’s story came from an older abortionist who said webcam abortions “removes the element of caring that happens when you have two people in the same room. When a patient in my office breaks down in tears, I can at least hand her a tissue or put my hand on her shoulder for support.”

Just so it’s clear, he’s not saying DON’T perform RU486 abortions. “The real solution to the problem is to pass legislation that will allow mid-level providers, such as nurse practitioners, to counsel patients and dispense RU-486 — in person.”


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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