Faraway doctors give abortion pills by video

Small Planned Parenthood clinics around Iowa are using a remote-control pill-dispensing system to make abortions available in areas where few doctors offer them.

The first-in-the-nation system allows a Planned Parenthood physician from Des Moines to visit with each patient by videoconference, then press a computer button to open a drawer in front of the patient, who could be seated up to 190 miles away. The patient then reaches into the drawer and withdraws the abortion pills.

The system is drawing interest from other abortion providers around the country. It’s also bringing objections from anti-abortion activists.


I’m not sure if the objection being raised by the pro-life groups is going to hold up. They are basing their complaint on the state law requiring an abortion be performed by a doctor. But RU-486 is legal in Iowa. And even if the woman and the doctor met face to face, the pill would be doing the abortion not the doctor.

It seems a rather sketchy argument, but the Board of Medicine is investigating.

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