On Saturday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill banning the use of telemedicine to administer the abortion pill in the state. The bill, SB 260, would effectively ban telemedicine abortions in Ohio by requiring that a physician be present when the first of the two drugs in the abortion pill regimen is administered to a woman. Failure to abide by this law could result in a fourth-degree felony, and repeated violations of the law could result in the suspension of the offending physician’s medical license.
“Abortion-inducing drugs kill innocent, preborn humans and are very dangerous to mothers,” said Mark Harrington, president of the Ohio-based pro-life group Created Equal, in an email. “These drugs have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings, including two dozen mothers. Allowing abortionists to prescribe these life-threatening drugs using telecommunications, instead of seeing patients in person, will only increase the complications.”
“To me this bill is about safety,” said physician and sponsor of the bill, Senator Stephen Huffman. “It’s not about limiting access. It’s about the safety of that woman.”
The COVID-19 pandemic gave the abortion industry a window of opportunity to push telemedicine abortion pill distribution despite the known health risks for women. The abortion industry has been attempting to make money off of at-home abortions for years and COVID-19 gave them the excuse to promote it. But in seeking to profit from at-home abortions, the industry has put women’s health in serious danger. Despite this, Planned Parenthood Ohio has called the Telemedicine Abortion Ban “an absolutely heinous attempt to shame people.”
According to the FDA, at least 24 known women have died from complications associated with the abortion pill and countless women have shared their personal stories of the horrific effects they have endured after taking the abortion pill regimen. Despite claims that the abortion pill is as “safe as Tylenol,” it carries with it a four times greater risk of complications than a first trimester surgical abortion.
Without an in-person visit, it is more difficult to rule out potential abortion pill risks and complications, including ectopic pregnancy and Rh status. Additionally, as gestational age increases, so does the likelihood of an incomplete abortion; not knowing an accurate gestational age increases this risk, leading to potential complications or follow-up surgical abortions. The FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) restrictions placed on the abortion pill ensured that a woman seeking the abortion pill was examined prior to taking it, which not only helped to minimize her physical risk but also to protect her from being coerced into abortion by an abusive partner or sex trafficker. Unfortunately, the REMS safety protocol has been suspended to allow for the remote distribution of the abortion pill during the pandemic.
“It is clear from the scientific literature that telemedicine abortions in remote areas will initiate a procedure that commonly results in hemorrhage, ER visits, need for emergency surgery, transfusions, etc.,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “This places the women in remote areas at the highest risk of turning a manageable complication into something life-threatening or fatal.”
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