Dubuque, Iowa Could be Next Location for Telemed Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2011   |   2:21PM   |   Dubuque, IA

Leading pro-life advocates in Iowa are concerned the Planned Parenthood abortion business may be bringing telemed abortions to Dubuque.

Telemed abortions are those where women visit an abortion center and aren’t allowed to meet in person with a physician before taking the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug, as the FDA recommends. Instead, they are only given access to a doctor over a Skype computer connection before being prescribed the drug that has killed potentially dozens worldwide and injured more than 1,100 in the United States alone as of 2006, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

With the December merger of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa, whose locations include Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, pro-life advocates like Steve Brody of Dubuque Right to Life worried the telemed process would expand beyond the current locations in Iowa.

Shelby Cloke, communications director for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, told the Dubuque Herald newspaper no decision has been made yet.

“As of this point, Planned Parenthood doesn’t really know if it will offer a telemedicine option (in Dubuque),” Cloke said. “We’re just at the beginning of working through the merger, and there are so many logistics that go into a merger, things like switching over accounts. As of yet we haven’t really gotten into discussing services.”

Brody talked with LifeNews.com today and said, “We always knew abortions would be part of the plan for Dubuque, which is why we have engaged in the daily protest outside the facility, and our ongoing educational campaign. We remain confident that telemed abortions will be stopped in Iowa through prayer, intercession, protest, and legislative means.”

The Telegraph Herald obtained a copy of a letter Jill June, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa, sent to donors of the abortion business. Brody says the letter is cause for concern.

“The first is the desire to purchase the building in Cedar Rapids where Planned Parenthood is located. The second is that former CEO of Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa Joe Lock approached Jill June about bringing telemed abortions here,” he says.

Brody says the developments appear to be “falling into place” since a May 2010 visit to Iowa from national Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, where the local affiliate and Richards announced the strategic plan for telemed abortions to go nationwide by 2015.

“Now we know that former CEO Joe Lock approached PPH to bring telemed to PPECI. The merger is announced at the end of the year, Joe Lock is gone, revenues for PPECI for 2008-09 are in the red, but salaries are way up,” he said, adding that the Richards visit may have set the actions into motion.

The Iowa legislature is planning to address the issue of telemed abortions in the upcoming legislative session and lawmakers in neighboring Nebraska are looking to do the same. https://www.lifenews.com/2010/11/24/state-5697/

The legislative proposal would prohibit Nebraska physicians from prescribing and dispensing the abortion drug via the Internet, which Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has done in Iowa in more than 2,000 cases since mid-2008. https://www.lifenews.com/2010/12/28/nebraska-bill-would-ban-telemed-abortions-using-ru-486-drug/

Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, talked with LifeNews.com about the legislation.

Schmit-Albin says women who get the abortion drug without an in-person exam and visit with a physician are left to deal with any consequences alone and she pointed to stories of “young girls being sent home to hemorrhage and deliver their babies at home not knowing what to expect.”

“This isn’t about women’s access to “healthcare” but more about Planned Parenthood reaching its tentacles across the vast expanse of our state into rural areas where they have not been and inflicting a dangerous drug cocktail on women and young girls who might end up in their local emergency rooms hours away from the abortionist who started the abortion,” she said.

She said women visiting Planned Parenthood for the telemed abortions “are told by Planned Parenthood to act like they are having a miscarriage if they go into an ER after having problems at home. So the local ER doctor doesn’t even know that her problem is due to a chemical abortion.”

“How is this about improving women’s health?” Schmit-Albin asked. “It’s all about the bottom line for Planned Parenthood: money.”