Letter Asks Iowa Medical Board to Stop Webcam Abortions

Alliance Defending Freedom and the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists sent a letter Wednesday to the Iowa Board of Medicine in support of new standards that would eliminate risky “webcam” abortions.

A “webcam” abortion occurs when no licensed healthcare professional actually sees a woman, but a Planned Parenthood abortionist in a remote location briefly consults with her via closed circuit TV for a few moments and then presses a button that dispenses abortion drugs to her. A newly proposed rule would prohibit this practice in Iowa.

“American tax dollars should be used responsibly and for the common good, but instead taxpayers are funding organizations like Planned Parenthood that are involved in risky chemical abortion procedures,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “Chemical abortions can be life-threatening and do pose serious health risks to women. No matter where one stands on abortion, all can agree that Planned Parenthood and other abortionists should be accountable to basic health and medical standards, and that at least includes a licensed professional personally meeting with women who are considering such a serious and potentially life-altering act.”

Dr. Susan Beck and 14 other healthcare providers proposed the rule and are scheduled to be heard by the Iowa Board of Medicine on Aug. 28.

The Alliance Defending Freedom letter commends the rule for holding “physicians to an appropriate standard or care for women in Iowa in connection with the provision of chemical abortions.”

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Dr. Donna J. Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, co-signed the letter and explained that the proposed regulation “would require physicians to physically examine a woman considering an abortion and determine the age and intrauterine location of the pregnancy; be present when the abortion-inducing drug is provided to the woman; and schedule a precautionary follow-up appointment with the women twelve to eighteen days after the abortion.”

“Of course, AAPLOG doctors join with Alliance Defending Freedom in promoting life as the best option,” she said.

In March 2011, Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on behalf of the former director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Iowa that performed webcam abortions. The lawsuit claims that Planned Parenthood’s Iowa affiliate failed to meet acceptable standards of medical practice and submitted “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid.


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