Last Friday, after two days of deliberation following a public hearing, the Iowa Board of Medicine voted 8-2 to institute and clarify regulations on chemical abortions by webcam.
When a woman undergoes a “chemical abortion,” it means she takes two pills, typically mifepristone (Mifeprex) and misoprostol. It is also known as the “RU-486 regimen.” The pill’s side effects can include ectopic pregnancy.
So far, so good. Why would anybody oppose this reasonable move to help keep women safe?
In fact, the Board is doing what the FDA recommends. This is what the Food and Drug Administration prints on every bottle of Mifeprex:
[T]reatment with Mifeprex and misoprostol for the termination of pregnancy requires three office visits by the patient. Mifeprex should be prescribed only by physicians who have read and understood the prescribing information. Mifeprex may be administered only in a clinic, medical office, or hospital, by or under the supervision of a physician, able to assess the gestational age of an embryo…
Iowa was Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s test pilot state for its webcam chemical abortions project starting in 2008, but 11 states have already heavily regulated the process. Yet, because this was the birthplace of webcam abortion, you know that Planned Parenthood will warn women everywhere about how men are raiding their uteruses by implementing life-saving regulations.
ThinkProgress, of course, decried the move as a silent blow to abortion rights everywhere. Jill June, the president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, told the site:
This decision is a political attack aimed at restricting access to abortion in Iowa. Proponents of this rule aren’t against telemedicine technology; they are against safe, legal abortion and are unjustly targeting our system with no scientific information or evidence to back their claims…
If all those who oppose abortion are in reality secretly trying to trample women's rights, then ThinkProgress and Planned Parenthood, by political logic, must oppose all health regulations concerning reproductive “rights.” But I don’t believe those polemics.
What we should be discussing here is the building and development of health clinics in rural areas that help women responsibly take care of their children and their bodies rather than destroy them. But, seemingly, neither Planned Parenthood nor ThinkProgress want to have that conversation.