WASHINGTON, D.C., February 4, 2011 ( – Rep. Steve King, (R-IA), has sent a letter signed by 71 Congressmen to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for information about the extent to which federal tax dollars may be funding “telemed abortions.”  This controversial practice involves the distribution of the dangerous abortion pill, RU486, by a doctor remotely over the internet, without any physical examination or the physical presence of a licensed physician.

“RU-486 is a dangerous drug that has been associated with at least 11 deaths and thousands of cases of excessive bleeding and infection,” said King. “Evading FDA guidelines by dispensing RU-486 through telemedicine has the potential to increase complications and fatalities associated with its use. We cannot allow taxpayer dollars to be used to support ‘telemed abortions.’”

Currently, this experimental abortion pill distribution scheme is being employed only in Iowa, but Planned Parenthood has indicated publicly that it is their intent to expand the practice to all its member clinics nationwide.

“Planned Parenthood’s telemed/webcam abortion scheme strips away any semblance of a doctor-patient relationship. After the abortionist electronically pops open a drawer to dispense the abortion drugs, the abortionist never sees the patient again, even if there are complications,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.  “This is a mockery of the doctor/patient relationship and a complete misuse of telemedicine.”

In the Fiscal Year 2010 Congress designated $11.6 million for HHS telemedicine programs, which are intended for the development of services in rural areas.

Newman said that it is “common misconception” that only women in rural areas are prescribed the abortion drug via telemedicine. In reality, he said, the telemed sites “are located in major population centers, including the county with the highest population in the state.”

“Telemed abortions are Planned Parenthood’s solution to a shortage of abortionists. It helps them access customers in otherwise abortion-free population centers in order to increase revenue while disregarding the health and safety of women.”

“We support Rep. King and the other members of Congress in their effort to get to the bottom of where our tax money is going,” Newman added.  “If it is funding this telemed abortion scheme, the people have a right to know, and a right to demand that the funding be stopped.”

Read the letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius here.
Learn more about telemed abortions here (