Cortney O'Brien

Imagine this scenario: A young woman is alone in her room with an abortion pill. Her doctor is miles away, communicating with her via a webcam as she prepares to take it. While it seems outrageous, this practice is legal in Iowa. Not, however, if state Republicans can help it.

A group of Republican senators in the Hawkeye State urged Democrats to reintroduce a House-passed bill banning telemedicine abortions, House File 2175, so the Senate can debate it and bring it to Gov. Terry Branstad to sign. HF 2175 would ban the practice and, if charged, doctors could be fined and have their licenses suspended. Rep. Matt Windschitl initially introduced the bill in February, along with 18 co-sponsors.

Here’s a more detailed description about the dangerous and lucrative practice of webcam abortions:

In 2008, Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa began prescribing and dispensing RU-486 without the prescribing doctor ever physically examining the woman. A doctor remotely confirms pregnancy and prescribes RU-486 via Internet webcam. This "patient consultation" is held with the woman sitting in front of a computer monitor in a Planned Parenthood clinic hundreds of miles away. After the "patient consultation," the doctor uses a remote control switch to open a drawer at the Planned Parenthood clinic, which contains the abortion-inducing drug. The woman takes the drug, and receives no direct follow-up care from the doctor.

Sounds safe, huh? Of course, Iowa Democrats’ have gone to the overused ‘war on women’ argument to prevent Republicans from resurrecting the bill.

“I'm disappointed Iowa Republicans have launched a new front in the national so-called 'war on women' by opposing affordable, safe access to health care for rural Iowans," said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, a member of the Senate Human Resources Committee.

"Mixing politics and medical care is a mistake. There is no reason for Republican politicians to be in the room when women and their doctors make important, personal medical decisions," he added.

No, but there is a need for medical professionals to be in the room. And it is this exact argument Republicans are trying to make.

Oh yeah, and Bolkcom left a few details out of his statement. For instance, did he mention that RU-486 has been responsible for at least eight abortion deaths and over 1,100 serious complications in the United States alone?

But, don’t take it from me and these statistics. Rep. Amy Sinclair had an impressive response of her own:

"Trying to protect the life and well-being of women by banning a procedure that doesn't even meet a humane standard of care is a war on women? Seriously?" Sinclair said during a Statehouse news conference. "Honestly, that statement doesn't even deserve an intelligent response."

Good for these Republicans for not backing down. This is an important vote and I, as I’m sure a lot of pro-life Iowans do, appreciate their efforts. They are on the side of women. How else could you describe their fight to ensure young women aren’t subjected to taking a dangerous pill such as RU-486 by themselves?

Before we achieve any major victories against abortion, it’s imperative we win common sense ones like these.


Cortney O'Brien

Cortney O'Brien is a Townhall web editor. Follow her on Twitter @obrienc2.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography