The practice of "telemedicine," or providing medical services over computer videoconferencing, is gaining traction nationwide. In Iowa, over the protests of abortion opponents, Planned Parenthood is using the long-distance technology to help terminate pregnancies: A videoconferenced doctor releases a dose of the "abortion pill" mifepristone (formerly RU-486) to a patient following an in-person exam with a nurse at a remote clinic. Are pro-life groups right to attack the practice as unsafe? (Watch a local report about Iowa's abortion "telemedicine")
Abortionists have hit a new, dangerous low: How can this "novel way to abort babies — by remote control" — be safe? asks Matthew Archbold in the National Catholic Register. When doctors remotely administer the abortion pill "with all the humanity of a Pez dispenser," who cares for the woman if something goes wrong? No one. This is a "dehumanizing," desperate, and ill-advised answer to the shrinking number of abortion doctors.
"Abortion by remote control"
The grousing is about abortion, not safety: Planned Parenthood's devised an "innovative, high-tech solution to the lack of abortion access in rural Iowa," says Roxann MtJoy at Change.org, and it's bound to take off nationwide. The women receive ample care and counseling, and "telemedicine has been used for years" in other fields — funny that "only when this technology is expanded to women's reproductive health are people crying foul."
"How webcams expand abortion access in rural Iowa"
Pro-lifers are worried about both: Yes, we're against all abortion, says Operation Rescue head Troy Newman, to The New York Times. But we also believe "removing the doctor-patient relationship" from a emotionally fraught experience is "a prescription for disaster." When "one abortionist sitting in his pajamas at home could literally do thousands of abortions a week," not acting is not an option.
"Abortion drugs given in Iowa via video link"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- Behind the newest attempt to get the Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- How legalizing pot could save America's economy
Subscribe to the Week