A new study says the growing practice of tele-medicine abortions, in which women are prescribed abortion-inducing medications without having a physician present, is “safe and successful”—but that declaration is dangerously deceitful.
The truth is that at least 3,534 women have been mildly to fatally affected by the pill in question, Mifepristone, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. According to a recent FDA report, there have been 14 reported U.S. deaths.
Ibis Reproductive Health was responsible for the study—but why would a conscientious health organization promote an unsafe practice like tele-med abortion? The answer is found on the Ibis website, which says that its “projects focus on improving access to abortion.” Unfortunately, media outlets like ABC News that are using the study to advertise the safety of tele-med abortion never reveal the Ibis agenda.
Tele-med abortions make abortion faster, easier, and more removed from medical supervision. In the marketplace, “faster” and “easier” usually lead to higher sales, and the abortion industry is no exception. In fact, America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, raked in $114.9 million of revenue from abortion in 2009 alone.
The major distinctive of this practice is that it does not require a medical doctor to be present in the room or even anywhere nearby. All consultation and dispensing of medicine takes place via teleconference. The abortion pill is administered through a locked drawer remotely operated with a pass code.
Despite the elevated risk, Planned Parenthood has recommended and prescribed the abortion pill outside of FDA guidelines and without patient access to the prescribing physician. In some cases, follow-up surgery is
follow-up surgery is needed to complete the abortion, a situation that increases in frequency with the length of the pregnancy.
Promoting access over safety should be cause for alarm, especially because women’s health care organizations are promoting Mifepristone so heavily. Aside from the major complications and fatalities, studies show that abortions have at least an 8 percent failure rate. And because tele-med abortion is meant for women in rural areas with less access to emergency care, complications could be life-threatening. Pill-based abortions are painful and can take days to bleed the baby out, according to Planned Parenthood’s own website.
Most providers of Mifepristone recommend a follow-up appointment two weeks later for an ultrasound confirming that the pregnancy “no longer exists.” If a woman retains infected fetal tissue, two weeks is far too long to wait for treatment, according to Physicians for Life. Concern for women’s personal contact with a physician and ultimate care is subordinated to the abortion provider’s determination to ease access and administration.
Making abortions more prevalent and delinking them from personalized medical care are ideological goals, not compassionate steps to improve health care. For example, since 1988, abortion rates among American teenagers have decreased by nearly 60 percent, according to Heritage’s Family Facts. Such a decrease is an accomplishment neither side of the abortion argument should want to reverse.
The Guttmacher Institute reports that five states—Arizona, Kansas, North Dakota, Nebraska and Tennessee—have already passed laws that limit tele-med abortions, but advocates like Ibis and Planned Parenthood have a vested interest in reversing such decisions. They are already targeting these states to repeal their laws.
As ABC News reported, abortion is one of the “most common procedures undergone by women.” Tele-med abortion will only make that phrase more tragically poignant.