Planned Parenthood in Kansas has announced that it has begun committing chemical abortions through telemedicine, less than a year after a law barring them was overturned. At least one facility is believed to be using out-of-state abortionists to dispense the medication.
According to the Associated Press, Planned Parenthood Great Plains is prescribing abortion pills through teleconferences with “off-site” abortionists. “My vision for telehealth medication abortion is the same as my vision for abortion generally, which is that it would be widely accessible by many providers,” Planned Parenthood President and CEO Emily Wales said in an announcement.
The abortion industry is arguing that Kansas serves a vital need for abortion, given that so many of the surrounding states have pro-life laws in place. This allegedly means patients are traveling there from states like Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. “Kansas is pretty critical for abortion access in the country,” Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, told the Washington Post. “If you could relieve pressure on capacity via telehealth, that’s incredibly important.”
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High Plains Public Radio (HPPR) reported that one Planned Parenthood facility in Wichita is allowing out-of-state abortionists to give the prescriptions to women seeking abortions. Wales told HPPR that their hope is that telehealth will allow them to increase the number of chemical abortions being committed. “It certainly increases availability when the physician doesn’t have to be sitting in the room doing, functionally, the same thing they would be doing if they weren’t there,” she said.
Currently, women still have to visit the Wichita facility in person, to receive an evaluation and counseling. Then, they receive the prescription from an off-site abortionist. Wales said that, for the moment, they aren’t looking to go completely to telemedicine where women go through the entire process at home.
“We’re not looking to do that right now,” she said. “This feels like an interesting hybrid — the patient does come in, they have the opportunity to get an ultrasound, talk to someone on-site about questions.”
The move is being heavily criticized by pro-life advocates in Kansas.
“True to form, the abortion industry is once again putting its own profits and convenience ahead of safeguards for the health of women and girls,” Danielle Underwood, Director of Communications for Kansas for Life, said in a press release. “This time, abortionists are heartlessly pursuing their goal to perform larger numbers of abortions by withholding direct and needed physical care of an onsite physician. Once again, this has sadly become another ‘I told you so’ moment as women and babies in Kansas will be the ones who suffer from these actions.”
Lucrecia Nold, Policy Specialist for the Kansas Catholic Conference, also released a statement condemning the “despicable” practice, and saying women deserve better. “The announcement today by Planned Parenthood in Kansas to begin executing chemical abortions on vulnerable women with unplanned pregnancies is a despicable act that clearly places profits ahead of the health and well-being of women and preborn children,” she said. “Simply put, Kansas women deserve better treatment than what amounts to abortion by Zoom call.”