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Dan Holman, Missionaries to the Preborn, speaking to the Iowa Board of Medicine on a proposed rule to ban medication abortions provided via telemedicine.
Holman has written glowing screeds about Paul Hill, who murdered an abortion provider and the provider’s bodyguard in 1994. Warning: These articles are very disturbing and praise the use of deadly violence against abortion providers.
Elizabeth Heying, Iowa attorney, speaking before the Iowa Board of Medicine on a proposed rule to ban medication abortions provided via telemedicine.
We have to be protected from ourselves, don’t you see? We just can’t wrap our silly minds around the health consequences of abortion.
The health consequences of giving birth to a 7 lb human being are irrelevant, I guess.
The Iowa Board of Medicine is hearing testimony right now in Des Moines on the recently proposed ban on telemedicine abortions. Follow the hashtag #IStand4IAWomen on Twitter for updates on the hearing.
For more on why this ban is unnecessary and puts Iowa patients in danger, read my testimony here.
Next Wednesday, there will be a public hearing in Des Moines on a ban on first-trimester medication abortions provided via telemedicine in Iowa. After the hearing, the Iowa Board of Medicine will consider the rule. All 10 members of the board were recently replaced by anti-choice governor Terry Branstad. Most of the public comments are typical anti-choice hysteria and exaggerations, so it’s really important to provide fact-based testimony.
Here are my comments:
To the Executive Director, Mark Bowden,
I would like to register my opposition to the proposed rule to limit the practice of first-trimester medication abortions provided via telemedicine. My opposition is based on the following:
- First-trimester medication abortion is safe, with less than 1% of patients experiencing complications (Trussell et al., Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2012). You can read more about the safety of this procedure here.
- There is no evidence the outdated FDA-approved procedure is safer - simply more expensive. Further, off-label use of the medications is allowed.
- The deaths cited by petitioners were never proved to be linked to the use of mifepristone. As cited by the petitioners, complications of any kind arose in 2207 patients…out of 1.52 million. That’s a less than 0.15% complication rate, a fact the petitioners somehow failed to note.
- Follow-up appointments are already routinely scheduled under the current model. If a patient is unable to return to the clinic where they had a safe, legal abortion, they visit another practitioner.
Privacy and the Constitution:
- Medication abortion via telemedicine allows the patient the privacy of their own home. Medication abortion is essentially an induced miscarriage, and patients generally feel safer and more comfortable in their homes and under the care of loved ones during this time.
- The right to an abortion is protected under the constitution, and according to the ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, regulations on the procedure may not pose an undue burden on the patient - that is, it may not pose a substantial obstacle to safe, legal abortion.
- Banning first-trimester abortions via telemedicine poses a substantial obstacle to accessing safe, legal abortion for patients living in rural areas. You can see in this interactive model of the geography of abortion access that there are a substantial number of Iowans who live hours away from the nearest clinic.
- Legally forcing Iowans seeking safe, legal medication abortion to visit a physician, rather than a nurse practitioner, requires long drives - this means losing income from work (or losing a job entirely) and losing income to care for children and dependents (61% of abortion patients are already parents).
- In addition, forcing patients to return to the abortion clinic for a follow-up, rather than visiting their own family care provider in their community, places yet another unnecessary burden on them. General practitioners and OB/GYNs in the patient’s community are competent enough to perform these checkups.
- Finally, forcing patients to visit abortion clinics exposes them to harassment by anti-abortion protestors outside clinics and compromises their right to privacy.
- Patients are competent enough to decide for themselves how they would like to access safe, legal abortion. A 2011 study of nearly 600 abortion patients in Obstetrics & Gynecology (Grossman et al.) found that telemedicine patients were more satisfied with their experience, and 75% preferred not being in the same room as the physician. I would highly recommend reading this study for a better understanding of the standard of care provided during telemedicine. The physician, while not physically present, reviews the patient’s medical history and ultrasound, discusses the procedure with the patient via webcam, then observes the clinic staff’s administration of the pills.
- The signatures on the petition were gathered by Iowa Right to Life, an organization with an established anti-abortion stance (clearly apparent on the petition itself). It is not difficult to conclude that the signers are not, in fact, interested in making an already safe and legal procedure safer - they are interested in reducing access to safe, legal abortion and understand that is all this rule will accomplish.
Thank you for your time.
The hearing will be Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 2 pm at the Wallace State Office Building in Des Moines. Please be there if you can, or email your comments to the Iowa Board of Medicine: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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