Planned Parenthood Challenged, Says No Complications From Telemed Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 6, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Challenged, Says No Complications From Telemed Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 6
, 2010

Des Moines, IA ( — Planned Parenthood claims its new telemed abortion process it is using in Iowa has resulted in no complications for women using the dangerous abortion drug. But, one pro-life organization says figures from the CDC and the Australian government make that claim appear impossible.

As reported, the CDC recently revealed in the New England Journal of Medicine that two more women have died from fatal infections resulting from their use of the RU 486 abortion drug than previously thought.

The women died after taking the mifepristone abortion drug last year and in 2008 and other women have died after they got the abortion pill from Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, the agency that monitors drugs for the Australian government issued a new report showing the number of complications from using the abortion drug is causing a concern.

Between December 2009 and July 2010, there were 3,000 uses of the abortion drug resulting in a complete failure in 14 cases, where women were subjected to surgical abortions. Another 110 cases involved women having incomplete abortions where parts of the baby’s body were left inside their uterus and, in some cases, it required follow-up surgery.

Officials with Operation Rescue say the 4.1% complication rate in Australia comes with women taking the drug under the watchful eye of licensed physicians. In the telemed abortion process, women only see a doctor over an Internet video feed and then have no follow-up with a physician after taking the abortion drug.

With 1,900 telemed abortions reported in Iowa, OR officials say they can’t believe Planned Parenthood is reporting no complications for women.

"Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has incredibly reported no complications in their nearly 2,000 remote controlled telemed abortions where a licensed physician only speaks with the patient for a few minutes over an Internet video connection, then never sees the patient again," spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger told today.

"The numbers simply do not add up. Either Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is engaging in an intentional cover-up of telemed abortion complications or it is an indication that they provide essentially no follow-up for patients once they load them on abortion pills and send them out the door. Either scenario would be gross misconduct on PPH’s part that further endangers the lives of women," she added.

OR says it has an informant with first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of PPH who has come forward to explain how the telemed abortion scheme shows a "revolting lack of concern" for the lives and health of women.

The informant insists that the scheme was developed with a high profit margin in mind, not the best interests of women. According to the informant, who has spoken to OR on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals, PPH has traditionally attempted to distance the organization from any abortion complications.

"Planned Parenthood doesn’t deal with complications," said the informant. "They send the women to the ER."

Sullenger says the new data from Australia and the CDC show the "abortion pill is more dangerous than thought, with an additional two deaths having been reported in the past two years."

"We can also see that a zero percent complication rate is statistically impossible. Why would Planned Parenthood of the Heartland engage in a cover-up about the true dangers of their push-button abortions? Perhaps it is to conceal their negligent lack of follow-up care and protect their profit potential," she said.

"This is an unethical and outrageous exploitation of women. Their dishonesty on this matter presents an immediate danger to the public," she added.

The Iowa Board of Medicine is currently investigating complaints filed by Operation Rescue and others against the abortion practitioners involved in the push-button pill scheme.

However, IBM officials have said they lack the oversight to stop telemed abortions and can only discipline licensed physicians if the standard of care has been violated.

An ad hoc IBM committee has been appointed to look into the use of telemedicine, including PPH’s push-button abortions. A public hearing to discuss public policy guidelines has been scheduled for October 22 and OR says pro-life advocates will be there.

"We must hold the Board accountable to the law and demand an end to this illegal and dangerous practice of distributing abortion pills over the Internet without the presence or oversight of a licensed physician," said Sullenger.

"Planned Parenthood has already admitted that they want to expand their telemed abortion system into every state, and that would represent an unprecedented danger to women and their babies. For the sake of vulnerable women, we must stop this dangerous remote controlled abortion scam here and now," she added.

OR and other pro-life groups monitoring the telemed scheme, including Iowans for Life, Iowa Right to Life and Dubuque County Right to Life, assert that the telemed abortion process is illegal since Iowa law mandates abortions can only be done by licensed physicians, who are never present at any time during the remote abortion pill process.

The pro-life group says an editorial published by the Des Moines Register on September 5 essentially admitted telemed abortions are illegal in Iowa and called for a change in the laws to allow them.


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