A pro-life organization that uncovered Planned Parenthood’s provision of “telemedicine abortions,” in which the pregnant woman never actually meets the abortionist, is seeking a criminal investigation of the procedures already in operation in Iowa.
“We believe that telemed abortions are illegal for several reasons and may rise to the threshold of criminal negligence,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said in a statement.
His group has asked the Iowa attorney general’s office to investigate the possible criminal-code violations in Planned Parenthood’s “scheme,” in which an abortionist meets the woman only through a computer link and then launches a “remote-controlled push-button Internet abortion pill.”
“Planned Parenthood’s scheme to deny women personal access to licensed physicians is a prescription for disaster,” Newman said.
The complaint cites Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and employees Thomas William Ross and Susan Haskell, both osteopaths.
The complaint asserts violations of the Iowa law requiring that only licensed physicians perform abortions, the endangerment of women’s lives through the process that dispenses drugs by remote control, negligence in dispensing drugs in ways that exceed manufacturer safety limits, overbilling of insurance companies and “patient abandonment,” since the abortionist remains unavailable to the patient – even in an emergency.
Operation Rescue Senior Policy Adviser Cheryl Sullenger had filed the medical-board complaint over the procedure, prompting the Iowa Medical Board’s confirmation that it was looking into the “care and treatment” practices of abortionist Haskell.
The complaint had raised several concerns, including the fact that Iowa law allows only a licensed physician to do abortions, the Planned Parenthood of the Heartland procedure fell short of FDA-approved protocols for doctor’s visits, no physician was present for the administration of abortion drugs and insurance companies apparently were overbilled.
Operation Rescue discovered the Iowa telemed abortion scheme during an undercover investigation of abortion clinics across the nation.
The organization documented in a recording Planned Parenthood’s explanation of its setup.
“The physician doesn’t actually come,” the abortion company worker explains. “The physician who prescribes you the medication would be on a computer screen. You’ll be on a computer screen. You can see each other and communicate. They’re just not physically there.
“You would press a button that’s on the screen, and a little box would open up with the medication in it.”
Listen to the call:
“The telemed abortion presents risks to women’s lives and health that are completely unacceptable,” Newman said when the plan was discovered. “The lack of access to a licensed physician throughout this risky and painful abortion process is shocking and likely illegal. Money obviously means more to Planned Parenthood than the lives and safety of women.”
Sullenger’s report on the issue explained the “telemedicine” procedures are “used legitimately in the medical field to lower the cost of consultations with specialists and exchange medical information between physicians electronically.”
“However, telemedicine, or care in absentia, was never meant as a replacement for the personal, hands-on examination by a physician,” she said.
Operation Rescue discovered a dozen small Planned Parenthood offices around Iowa were handing out the dangerous abortion drug RU-486, or mifepristone, and companion drug methotrexate even though the patients never had been examined personally by a physician.
“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,” Newman said.
Newman’s organization also found Planned Parenthood deviates from FDA protocols for the dosage and number of office visits, and insurance companies are billed $1,000 for the process – twice what cash patients must pay.