CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, December 10, 2010 ( – Pro-life leaders are worried that an announced merger between Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa will lead to a spread in abortion, including so-called “telemed” abortions. At the same time, they say that the merger is a positive indicator that the abortion giant is struggling to stay afloat financially in the state.

Local ABC news affiliate reported Thursday that one effect of the merger could be the introduction of abortions at East Central Iowa’s Cedar Rapids and Dubuque clinics, which currently do not offer them.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland officials acknowledged that they were weighing the addition of both surgical abortions and the dispensation of abortion drug RU-486 by “telemedicine,” in which a doctor in Des Moines would dispense the drug to patients remotely.

The merger will take place sometime next year.

Steven Brody, the executive director of Dubuque County Right to Life, called the news a mixed blessing, given what it suggests about Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa’s financial situation.

“The poor turnout for free Pap tests in Dubuque last week is further evidence of the location in desperate need of customers,” said Brody. “This proves that our campaign of peaceful, prayerful protest and educational advertising has been a success.”

Brody also said that Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa’s 2009 Federal Form 990 shows the branch “was obviously mismanaging the funds it was receiving” by significantly raising the total amount spent on salaries to over $1 million, even as the organization fell into debt.

“This would indicate that Planned Parenthood is following its established pattern of phasing out affiliates that do not commit abortions and are therefore not profitable, in order to pour its resources into its lucrative abortion business,” he noted. Brody nonetheless expressed concern that abortions streamlined through the questionable “telemed” scheme would now enter nearby clinics.

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist, has revealed that the telemed setup is a boon for Planned Parenthood’s coffers, while very dangerous for women. The powerful drug has been known to land women in the emergency room with serious side effects that have led to hundreds of hospitalizations.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control in October revealed that two more women’s deaths have been linked to RU-486, taking the official tally up to twelve, according to the Family Research Council. Both died of sepsis after experiencing severe cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea for days after taking the drug.

“Even when I was a 2008 Planned Parenthood ‘employee of the year,’ I thought this system sounded risky,” wrote Johnson in June. “Since many of Planned Parenthood’s facilities in Iowa are in rural areas, it’s downright scary to think of what could happen to any woman who suffers complications from RU-486.”