NRL News

Iowa clinic halts web-cam abortions

by | May 9, 2014

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research

iowa-clinicA Planned Parenthood clinic in Iowa has stopped doing web-cam abortions.  No one is sure why West Health Center of Urbandale (a suburb of Des Moines) has stopped, but it’s clearly big news. It is part of a conglomerate that has “pioneered” the use of chemical abortions via web-cam and expanded all over the state and elsewhere.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH), Planned Parenthood’s large regional affiliate centered in Iowa, was one of the testing grounds for RU-486, and then later was in the forefront in utilizing web-cams to facilitate abortions using the abortion pill.

And no affiliate has been as aggressive as PPH. Over the  past several years it has gobbled up other affiliates in Iowa and in neighboring states. PPH has built a mega-clinic and has announced campaigns to open new clinics throughout the region. They are a major player in the abortion industry.

PPH introduced the web-cam abortion to Iowa in 2008, connecting 16 of its smaller offices to a larger clinic back in Des Moines.  Several of those clinics have since closed, and now we can subtract the West Health Center of Urbandale from the list of Planned Parenthood’s web-cam abortion facilities.

Why has West Health Center of Urbandale ceased performing web-cam abortions? We don’t know whether injuries to patients there prompted the closing.  Staffing might be a problem, as we know that, at least elsewhere in the state, PPH has been advertising to find part time workers for some of their web-cam abortion sites.

It should also be noted that Urbandale, a busy location for PPH, has been the site of an ongoing pro-life vigil since 2010.

And there is not a lot of popular support. A poll taken back in February showed widespread opposition to web-cam abortions in the state, with two-thirds (66%) of respondents to a Des Moines Register poll saying that they did not think telemedicine should be used “to prescribe and deliver abortion-inducing medication” in Iowa.  Even Democrats in the state tended to agree, 49% to 45% [] .


What exactly is a web-cam abortion?

An abortionist back at a hub clinic teleconferences with a patient at one of the smaller satellite offices, reviews her case, and asks a couple of questions. If satisfied, he clicks a mouse, remotely unlocking a drawer at her location.  In that drawer are the abortion pills which make up the two-drug abortion technique (RU-486 and a prostaglandin). She takes the RU-486 there and takes the rest of the pills home to administer to herself later.

If things go as planned, she will endure painful cramps and substantial bleeding and abort her child sometime in the next several days.

Notably, in the model employed by PPH, the abortionist is never in the same room as the woman, and thus never actually physically examines her. He is not there when she receives the abortion drugs and nowhere near if she encounters serious problems over the next several days.

Why is it important that the abortionist is in the same room? Women using RU-486 and a prostaglandin to abort their babies have hemorrhaged and required emergency surgery. They have had their fallopian tubes rupture from an undetected ectopic pregnancies, which these pills do not treat. They have contracted rare but deadly infections.

You would never know it by the PR coming from proponents, but thousands of women have been injured and over a dozen women have died after taking these abortifacient drugs.

While encouraged by the recent news from Urbandale, Jenifer Bowen, Executive Director of Iowa Right to Life, said that “This perversion of good tele-medicine technology is putting women in danger and must stop.”

Bowen added, “While Planned Parenthood in Urbandale and 15 other locations state-wide continue to promote or sell abortion to women, we will remain steadfast and work tirelessly for the day when all lives are welcomed into this world.  We will continue to work relentlessly for the protection of our women and unborn children from the devastation of abortion.”

Here’s hoping that the news from Urbandale is an indication that the web-cam abortion empire at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is beginning to crumble.

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