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Telemedicine Bans and Good Politics
Jordan Moorman | 10 February 2021
It should be pointed out joyfully that in January of 2021, Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio signed a telemedicine abortion ban. Ohio is the twentieth state requiring a patient to be in the physical presence of a physician to administer the chemical abortion cocktail.
In Ohio, there are two appointments: a consultation, a 24-hour waiting period, and then the procedure. For chemical abortion, there is an initial consultation, the waiting period, then the taking of the first drug, which is mifepristone. Then 24 to 48 hours later, the mother takes the misoprostol, which, sadly, induces a miscarriage.
The ban on telemedicine abortion is important and timely due to the explosive popularity of chemical abortions in the last decade. It is estimated that presently, 40% of abortions are chemical abortions. In the present day of Covid-19 restrictions, the conversation on telemedicine abortions is more relevant than ever. Last Spring, telemedicine abortion increased 33% over the course of about a month, according to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio was unable to provide information regarding how many women requested telemedicine abortion for the second dosage of their chemical abortion.
When the pro-abortion lobby touts the mantra of safety, there is no way of knowing whether or not it is actually safe. The lack of certainty in safety is further demonstrated because there is missing data on follow-up appointments. In 2012, a study on safety was left with a glaring limitation because women missed their follow up appointments. Numbers are missing on both how many telemedicine abortions happened and the results of women who received a chemical abortion.
Other safety risks exist as well, especially in other states where there may not be an ultra-sound law in effect. For example, if a woman takes mifepristone with an ectopic pregnancy, this can cause sepsis. There have been four recorded deaths from this happening, all completely preventable if the administrator of the chemical abortion knew there was ectopic pregnancy ahead of time. You would think these would be common sense, middle of the road regulations to protect women. Such regulation is a safety mechanism more than a "hindrance of reproductive freedom," or whatever pro-abortion advocates would name it. The pro-abortion lobby shows its ugly profit-over-safety philosophy by advocating against basic safety standards. NARAL claims that these laws are unnecessary and restrictive, but we know they are prudent at worst and life-saving at best.
Not only is it prudent policy, but it's also good pro-life politics. New polling data from the Institute for Pro-Life Advancement suggests positive pro-life outlooks from millennials and Gen Z. The findings include, but are not limited to:
"More than 7 out of 10 expressed support for limits on abortion."
"6 out of 10 believe doctors should check for a heartbeat before performing or offering an abortion."
“Preventing abusive people and partners from anonymously getting Chemical Abortion Pills that they slip to pregnant mothers without their consent got great agreement. By a margin of 55% to 23%, Millennials and Gen Z supported in-person purchase (instead of online sales) to stop abusers.”
“There is good news for politicians protecting women from deadly online/phone app distribution of Chemical Abortion Pills. More than half said they would vote for a legislator who supported in-person doctor visits to receive Chemical Abortion Pills. (52% to 25%).”
Please note these last two items. Abusers obtaining chemical abortion drugs and then giving them to a partner that does not consent does happen. A man was arrested in 2017 for slipping misoprostol into his girlfriend’s tea, causing a miscarriage; hopefully, the irony of being arrested is not lost on those that believe the unborn are not human.
Our lawmakers would do well to promote legislation banning telemedicine, requiring ultra-sounds, and encouraging in-person doctor visits. It would save lives, protect women from harmful side effects and abusers, and garner public support. These are not extreme proposals, and they are not “gotcha” laws. A very large population of young people supports pro-life legislation because pro-life legislation protects women and their children. Additionally, the amount of support suggests that it is also good politics.
Thanks should go to Governor DeWine for signing the telemedicine abortion ban, the Ohio state legislators for passing it, and the many other states that have also enacted similar legislation. But it is time to encourage other states to promote these safe, smart, and popular regulations.
Appalachian Regional Coordinator (OH & KY)
Students for Life America