DES MOINES, Iowa, October 6, 2010 ( – New data released in the United States and Australia concerning complication rates for the abortion pill RU-486 point to a possible cover-up of the true complication rate for “telemed abortions” done by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH) in Iowa, reports Operation Rescue.

On September 30, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control revealed in the New England Journal of Medicine that two more deaths linked to RU-486 (also known as Mifepristone or Mifeprex) were reported: one in 2008, and one just last year, bringing the number of known RU-486 deaths to ten in the U.S., since the FDA approved the drug in 2000.

Meanwhile, the Australian reported on October 2, 2010 that complications related to usage of RU-486 in Australia are causing concern.

Between December of last year, when restrictions on the abortion pill was relaxed, and July of 2010, three thousand medical abortions have been reported in three Australian provinces. This number can be generally compared to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s figure of 1,900 medical abortions done through their remote-controlled, push-button, abortion pill distribution scheme known as telemed abortions.

In Australia, the drugs completely failed in 14 cases. Another 110 cases reported “adverse effects” such as retention of the placenta and retention of aborted baby remains, conditions that require emergency surgery.

This represents a 4.1% complication rate requiring surgical abortion or emergency surgery – and this is with the benefit of the oversight of licensed physicians. This figure is reflective of the reported complication rates elsewhere in the world.

Meanwhile, PPH has reported no complications in their nearly 2,000 remote-controlled telemed abortions, where a licensed physician speaks with the patient for a few minutes over an Internet video connection, then never sees the patient again. The pills are distributed when the abortionist pushes a button in his or her office, opening a drawer containing the pills at the office where the patient is located.

“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,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger. “Either scenario would be gross misconduct on PPH’s part that further endangers the lives of women.”

Operation Rescue said today that a confidential informant with first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of PPH has come forward to tell them that the telemed abortion scheme shows a “revolting lack of concern” for the lives and health of women. The informant insisted that the scheme was developed with a high profit margin in mind, not the best interests of women.

According to the informant, who spoke  to OR on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals, PPH has traditionally attempted to distance the organization from any abortion complications, having a “Hear-no-evil, See-no-evil” attitude.

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

OR’s Sullenger said in response, “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.”

“This is an unethical and outrageous exploitation of women. Their dishonesty on this matter presents an immediate danger to the public.”

The Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) is currently investigating complaints filed by Operation Rescue and others against abortionists involved in the push-button pill scheme. Pro-life groups assert that the telemed abortion process is illegal since Iowa law mandates that abortions can only be done by licensed physicians, who are never present at any time during the remote abortion pill process.

The IBM has made it clear, however, that they lack the oversight to stop the procedure and can only discipline licensed physicians if the standard of care has been violated.

However, the IBM can produce public policy guidelines concerning the use – or misuse – of telemedicine in Iowa. An Ad Hoc 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, 2010.

Operation Rescue and other pro-life groups say that they plan to be in attendance.

“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.”

To find out more, go to:

See related coverage by

Pro-Life Leaders Vow to Fight Iowa 'Telemed' Abortions

Former Planned Parenthood Director: Stop Dangerous Telemed Abortions

Criminal Complaint Against Telemed Abortions Filed With Iowa Attorney General

Planned Parenthood Reveals 5-Year Plan to Expand Abortion through Telemed Scheme


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