Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Planned Parenthood of Wisc. Suspends Use of Abortion Pill

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Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced April 20 that it was suspending the distribution of the abortion pill RU-486, citing a new state law that has tightened the restrictions on what has come to be known as “non-surgical” or “web cam” abortions — so named because abortionists can approve the procedure without personally examining a pregnant mother.

As reported by Reuters News, the Coercive and Web Cam Abortion Prevention Act, signed into law by pro-life Governor Scott Walker (left), “requires that women visit a doctor at least three times before having a drug-induced abortion, forces physicians to determine whether women are being coerced into having an abortion, and prohibits women and doctors from using web cams during the procedure.” The measure also provides for stiff criminal penalties, including possible prison sentences, for doctors who violate the law, an obvious factor in Planned Parenthood’s decision.

Teri Huyck, head of Planned Parenthood’s Wisconsin franchise, complained that the new law interfered with the doctor-patient relationship and made it much riskier for abortionists to perform medical abortions. “The added risks of felony penalties for physicians who provide medication abortion are unnecessary and intended to threaten a physician’s ability to provide women with medication abortion,” Huyck said in a statement that, effectively, lamented doctors' freedom to kill unborn babies with impunity. 

Wisconsin’s largest medical fraternity, the Wisconsin Medical Society, had tried to pressure Walker into vetoing the bill, insisting that it “directly infringes on the special and private relationship between the patient and physician.”

But Barbara Lyons of Wisconsin Right to Life called the measure a “common sense law” that “protects women at a time when it is most needed and provides help if she is a potential or real victim of domestic abuse.”

Lyons explained that “people mistakenly believe women who have chemical abortions pop a pill and, magically, they are no longer pregnant. Yet, FDA protocol for use of this two-drug regime is three to four visits to a doctor with close supervision.”

She noted that with the advent of “web cam,” which abortion provider Planned Parenthood is now using at clinics in Iowa and Minnesota, abortionists simply discuss the abortion procedure with pregnant mothers over video feed, essentially “skypeing” their diagnosis and abortion order. “Planned Parenthood envisions bringing web-cam RU-486 abortions into local communities,” Lyons said. “But now, not in Wisconsin, thanks to Act 217.”

She added that “because chemical abortions comprise 26 percent of Wisconsin abortions, their suspension will result in another decline in Wisconsin abortions, which is great news for mothers and babies.”

Similarly, Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, a national pro-life group, applauded the measure, thanking the Wisconsin legislature and Governor Walker “for acting to protect women from predatory web-cam abortion practices that attempt to increase abortion profits by cutting corners on women’s health and safety.”

He said that “abortion pill, known as RU486, Mifepristone, or Mifeprex, has been responsible for at least 16 patient deaths and thousands of abortion complications.” He added that when the pill fails to kill the pre-born baby, “a surgical abortion can be necessary to save the woman’s life from infection caused by retained fetal tissue. There can be no doubt that halting the misuse of abortion drugs will save the lives of women and their babies.”

Operation Rescue was one of the first pro-life groups to discover that Planned Parenthood was using the abortion pill for long-distance abortions in Iowa with the goal of expanding web-cam abortions nationwide. Newman said that his group immediately began raising awareness among pro-life groups around the nation. “This has been a textbook example of how activism encourages legislation,” he said. “Once we discovered the web-cam abortions in Iowa, we worked with other organizations to create legislation. That legislation has been picked up by other groups and guided through the legislative process,” the latest being in Wisconsin. “The result is positive change and increased protections for women that will result in fewer abortions.”

The group noted that in addition to Wisconsin, Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota have passed legislation banning web-cam abortions. Currently, North Dakota and Oklahoma, which also passed bans on non-surgical abortions, are defending their laws against legal challenges from pro-abortion forces.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, one of the Democratic front-runners in the upcoming recall election against Governor Walker, vowed to work to overturn the pro-life law if is elected. Barrett has tried to capitalize on the issue, condemning Walker and Republican legislators for requiring abortion providers to “follow medical practices set out by politicians.” Another Democratic candidate Kathleen Falk, who formerly served on Planned Parenthood’s board, accused Walker of waging a “war on women.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quoted Barrett as claiming that the new law “is designed to throw up road blocks to reproductive choice.” Reported the Journal-Sentinel: “Barrett and Falk both called [the new law] one of several Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. The state also stopped funding to Planned Parenthood to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraception, and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.”

Walker’s campaign responded to the attack with a statement saying that “the fact is, under Gov. Walker Wisconsin is helping more women screen for breast and cervical cancer than ever before through the Wisconsin Well Woman Program. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants to take Wisconsin backward and is distorting the facts to score cheap political points.”

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