Guest Opinions

Guest Opinion: Legislature’s abortion rules protect women’s health

Planned Parenthood and its public spokesperson, Hannah Brass Greer, have gone out of their way this legislative session to tell Idaho legislators and policymakers that its operations are none of the public’s business.

That tone was again struck in a recent Guest Opinion by Ms. Greer. But, of course, public health and safety are primary responsibilities of this and every other Legislature.

The U.S. Supreme Court, when legalizing abortion in 1973, foresaw the states playing an integral role in regulating the abortion industry in order to protect women and girls from the likes of a Kermit Gosnell: “The states have a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that ensure maximum safety for the patient. This interest obviously extends at least to the performing physician, and his staff, to the facilities involved, to the availability of after-care, and to adequate provision for any complication or emergency which might arise.”

Chemical abortions through RU-486 are increasingly favored by the abortion industry because they are more profitable and less hassle for the abortionist. Women can be pushed through the chutes quickly. But this method is also more dangerous for the women and girls who choose to abort by ingesting deadly chemicals.

One study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology (2009) found that the complication rate for chemical abortions was four times higher than for that of surgical abortions. The manufacturer of RU-486 has publicly stated that nearly every woman or girl using their drugs for abortion will experience some complication or adverse reaction to the drugs. And, indeed, some women have died from using RU-486. Thousands of others have been hospitalized.

Yet Planned Parenthood would have us believe that women and girls don’t even deserve the dignity and respect of a personal, in-person examination and treatment at the hands of a qualified physician. It is this cavalier disregard for women and the moral import of abortion which has led Planned Parenthood to begin executing a national strategy of using “remote control” abortions — for its own profits and convenience.

Planned Parenthood first piloted this program in the state of Iowa, where it essentially created a vast medical experiment with the goal of lowering the standard of care for women across the nation. But physicians in that state became alarmed over Planned Parenthood’s “telemed” abortion scheme and filed complaints with the Iowa Board of Medicine.

After detailed review, the Iowa Board of Medicine issued a ruling prohibiting the practice. It issued a statement that said, in part: “The Board believes that all patients, including those in rural Iowa, deserve the highest level of care. The Board believes that a physician must establish an appropriate physician-patient relationship prior to the provision of a medical abortion. The physician’s in-person medical interview and physical examination of the patient are essential to establishing that relationship.”

Fortunately for Idahoans, the Legislature has taken note of Planned Parenthood’s record in Iowa and other states and taken decisive action this year to prohibit a risky, substandard treatment regimen. Our Legislature found that women and girls deserve humane and respectful treatment as they make the most important decision of their lives. We are grateful for their responsible, compassionate leadership.