Tuesday May 4, 2010

‘Telemed’ Abortions Under Investigation in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa, May 4, 2010 ( – The Iowa Medical Board is now investigating the “care and treatment” practices of abortionist Susan Haskell and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, who have been accused of conducting medical abortions without a physician present, reports Operation Rescue.

The investigation, which Operation Rescue (OR) said it was notified of in writing, is in response to complaints filed by OR Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger concerning “Telemed” abortions.

“Telemed” is short for telemedicine, a practice in which the patient consults with a physician over the Internet via Skype or other teleconferencing hook-up.

OR investigators found that a dozen small Planned Parenthood offices in Iowa were administering the dangerous abortion drug, RU 486, without the patient ever having been personally examined by a physician.

Instead, an abortionist briefly addresses abortion patients from a teleconferencing hook-up from her office in Des Moines. After explaining the medical abortion process, a button is pushed and an electronic drawer opens that contains the drugs.

“We believe that this practice is illegal and violates Iowa law that requires that a licensed physician perform abortions in that state, and increases the serious dangers to the public,” said OR President Troy Newman.

The pro-life organization also reported that Planned Parenthood deviates from the FDA protocols in both dosage and number of recommended office visits. The abortion patient never has personal access to a licensed physician, even for a follow-up examination, according to the pro-life group.

They also point out that insurance companies are charged $1,000 for the procedure, twice the cost of cash patients and over 2 1/2 times the national average cost for such abortions, a practice that could drive up insurance costs across the board.

Concerns about the practice of telemed abortions are exacerbated by the fact that at least 13 women have died from medical abortions and over 1,100 have suffered serious complications.

“Planned Parenthood has come up with a dangerous scheme to peddle abortion pills to women without the cost of transporting a licensed physician to each clinic. Without enough abortionists to staff all of their clinics, this ‘telemed’ scheme is the goose that laid the golden egg for them. Never mind that it is a serious danger to women and to the economics of this country, especially if it expands nationally,” said Newman.

“We pray that the Iowa Board of Medicine will bring this outrageous abortion abuse to an end.”

Read OR’s Full Special Report: ‘Telemed Abortions’ Endanger Women and Drive Up Insurance Costs