By: By Julie Grimstad
Positive language is often used to put nice faces on heinous crimes. Case in point: both abortion and assisted suicide, previously prosecutable offenses, have been transformed into “medical treatments” and now, in some states, are “care” provided by telemedicine. For instance, on November 23, Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson blocked a Kansas law that banned doctors from prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine. On another front, in April, Vermont’s medical-aid-in-dying law was amended to permit assisted suicide by telemedicine.
Abortion “Care” by Telemedicine
Regarding the Kansas court decision, Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated, “In this post-Roe world, telemedicine can make the difference in being able to receive abortion care or not. Today’s decision paves the way for Kansas abortion clinics to expand services to women in remote, underserved areas of Kansas.”
Judge Watson’s ruling means that via a video visit a healthcare provider, who has not physically examined the pregnant woman, can agree to prescribe abortion pills which a pharmacy will send in the mail. That’s long-distance assistance to kill. It is not medical care. Not only is this deadly for the tiny human being nestled in the woman’s womb, this is also extremely dangerous for the woman living in a remote area. Will medical help be readily available should she suffer serious complications from the self-induced abortion?
Kansas is not alone. Doctors at online and brick and mortar primary care companies are beginning to prescribe abortion pills via telemedicine in states where abortion is still legal following the Dobbs decision.
Assisted Suicide by Telemedicine
As noted in the opening paragraph, Vermont now permits assisted suicide by telemedicine. When the state’s original assisted suicide law went into effect in 2013, it required a patient to make two in-person requests to the prescribing physician, see a consulting physician, and submit a written request. Now, requesting the lethal dose is as easy as a telemedicine chat.
Vermont was previously the only state that required a patient to be in the physical presence of the prescribing physician when requesting the lethal prescription. No other U.S. jurisdiction that permits assisted suicide has ever required this. Thus, healthcare providers in 10 states and the District of Columbia can talk to a “terminally ill” patient (whether correctly or incorrectly diagnosed) via a video visit and prescribe drugs for that person to commit suicide.
Consider how this might work in Oregon where the door is now open for assisted suicide tourism. In response to a federal lawsuit filed by Compassion & Choices the Oregon Health Medical Board, in March, decided to stop enforcing the state’s requirement that people must be residents of the state to avail themselves of Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law. So now anyone from anywhere can travel to Oregon to commit suicide with medical assistance. But wait! One need not travel to Oregon since the lethal prescription can be requested via telemedicine. This opens the door even wider – facilitating very long-distance suicide assistance.
What Can We Do to Stop the Misuse of Telemedicine for Evil?
Telemedicine, like most things, can be used for good or evil. When I had COVID, through telemedicine I was able to connect with a wonderful physician whose advice and prescribed medicines helped me recover. It was such a relief to be able to access medical assistance from my own home. However, using telemedicine to request and prescribe drugs to cause abortions or assist suicides is purely evil.
There are things many people would not do without professional permission. And the easier it is to obtain healthcare providers’ permission for abortion and suicide, the more people will view these heinous acts as normal and acceptable.
What can we do?
- First and always, we pray to God for guidance for us and for those who have the power to make and change our laws.
- Next, we talk to everyone we know, share this article, and ask them to join us in contacting legislators to express our grave concerns about abortion and suicide assistance by telemedicine. Perhaps they don’t understand and need to be told that, because abortion and assisted suicide involve the purposeful termination of human life, they are fundamentally different than authentic medical treatment which has as its principal purpose the preservation of life. Likewise, we must remind lawmakers that the main purpose of government is to be a protector of life.
- Finally, we hope and trust in the Lord of Life for we can rest assured that, when the battle is over, the victory will be His.
Thank you for engaging in the battle to protect and preserve human lives!
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Julie currently is President of the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization (HALO) Board of Directors. Julie has served the medically vulnerable and their families as a volunteer patient advocate since 1985.
A speaker and writer, Julie addresses many aspects of medical decision-making and patient advocacy, as well as euthanasia and assisted suicide. Julie was the editor of and a contributing writer to “Making a Difference: A Guide for Defending the Medically Vulnerable,” a 16-page HALO publication. She has authored numerous articles, brochures, and fact sheets on healthcare issues from a pro-life perspective, and is the editor of HALO’s e-newsletter, the HALO Herald. Visit www.halovoice.org
Julie’s earlier experiences include being a licensed practical nurse caring for the elderly and disabled in a Catholic hospital; Birthright volunteer, opening her home as a refuge for unwed mothers; Natural Family Planning instructor for the Diocese of Lincoln; founder and director of a Pregnancy Aid office in Tacoma, WA; and Natural Childbirth instructor. Julie has a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo and was a martial arts/self-defense instructor for over 15 years.
Julie resides in Bedford, TX with her husband William and is the mother of five living children and two in heaven, grandmother of eleven, and great-grandmother of three.
2900 Oak Shadow Circle, Bedford, TX 76021
- Life-affirming Patient Advocacy
- The Dangers Confronting Medically Vulnerable People
- Medical Decision Making: Respecting the Value and Dignity of Every Human Life
- Advance Directives for Healthcare: Living Wills, Medical Power of Attorney documents, and POLST
- Traditional Medical Ethics v. Postmodern Bioethics
- The Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Movement
- Organ Donation and Transplantation
- What is Death? Brain Death? Circulatory Death?
Here is the link to Julie’s Life SUMMIT 2021 presentation: