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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

PA Senators Support

Telemedicine Free of Abortion   

 Maria V. Gallagher  |   18  June  2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has tested our health care system as never before. Amid the tremendous challenge, health care providers have responded with innovation and grace. Among the tools, they have been using during the global health care crisis is telemedicine. Telemedicine, or telehealth, involves the ability of medical professionals to diagnose and treat patients remotely by means of telecommunications, such as computers and iPhones. The health care trend has been hailed as a breakthrough in medical care, especially in this time of COVID-19.

Pennsylvania had an opportunity to expand telemedicine and ease the strain on our medical system with Senate Bill 857, which recently passed both the PA House of Representatives and the state Senate.  As the bill’s sponsor, Senator Elder Vogel (R-47th district) stated, “Through the use of telemedicine, specialists and other health care providers are able to expand their reach, helping rural patients stay in their communities and avoid traveling long distances for specialized care.”


Yet, Governor Tom Wolf (D) vetoed the bill, bringing medical progress to a halt. His veto came as a response to his efforts to placate the abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, one of his major campaign contributors.


The bill contained a much-needed provision that certain dangerous drugs could not be distributed via telemedicine. Among them was the highly controversial abortion pill RU486. Demonstrated side-effects of RU486 include excessive bleeding, vomiting, nausea, and painful uterine contractions. Time magazine even referred to the chemical abortion process as “painful, messy, and protracted.”


Research indicates that as many as 2 percent of women who take RU486 hemorrhage and more than 1 in 100 need hospitalization. The process is neither simple nor convenient, since the procedure involves two drugs and three trips to the doctor over a two week span of time. In 4 to 5 percent of cases, the pills fail to result in a complete abortion, requiring the women to return to the abortion facility for a surgical procedure.          


Pennsylvania Senators who supported the telemedicine bill, such as Senator John Yudichak (I-14th district), are to be commended for their efforts to expand telemedicine while attempting to keep women safe. But Governor Wolf and the abortion industry have teamed up once again in an unholy alliance against medical progress. In the midst of a pandemic, they resorted to pro-abortion politics to sink a finely-crafted bill.


As Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R-25th district) stated, “Now more than ever, the need for telemedicine continues to grow. The Governor’s politically motivated veto means that many Pennsylvanians, especially in rural communities, will not receive quality care that can save the lives of children, adults and seniors who cannot otherwise access the care of a medical professional. Telemedicine should be a part of our health system now, and after this pandemic is over.”


Governor Wolf is now considered to be the most pro-abortion Chief Executive in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A former clinic escort for Planned Parenthood, the Governor has vowed to veto any pro-life bill—and he has made good on his promise. The Governor vetoed a measure which would have banned the outrageous practice of dismemberment abortion, where a baby is torn limb by limb from a mother’s womb. The bill would have also changed the abortion limit in the Keystone State from 24 weeks to 20 weeks to reflect the advances that have been made in medical care for premature infants.


Additionally, the Governor blocked a popular disability rights bill that would have banned the abortion of babies for the sole reason of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The Down Syndrome Protection Act recognized the tremendous progress people with an extra chromosome have made in our workplaces, our schools, and our communities. But because the bill addressed abortion, the Governor stopped it in its tracks—despite widespread bipartisan support for the legislation.


In addition, the Governor allowed Planned Parenthood and other facilities to perform abortions during the Coronavirus crisis—in violation of his own Executive Order against elective surgeries in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some 55 members of the Pennsylvania House and a sizeable number of Pennsylvania Senators penned letters to the Governor appealing to him to stop abortions during the virus crisis, to no avail. In fact, at one point Planned Parenthood Keystone boldly proclaimed on its website that it was only doing abortions during the Coronavirus shutdown. The organization had become a 100 percent abortion operation.  


Political game-playing in a pandemic is especially dangerous. Sadly, Governor Wolf sacrificed public safety to appease the abortion lobby with his veto of SB 857. The only check on his authority are the state legislators who are willing to courageously and unapologetically stand up for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.

Maria V. Gallagher

Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

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