Iowa Webcam Abortion Flap: Planned Parenthood’s False Indignation over Single Pro-life Letter Deflects from Their Own “E-Mail-Gate” Scandal

By Cheryl Sullenger

Des Moines, Iowa — A group of Iowa physicians and health care professionals have petitioned the Iowa Board of Medicine to begin making rules changes to halt the practice of dispensing abortion pills via webcam outside the physical presence of a doctor. The Board voted 8-2 to in June to begin the process. If the Board decides to approve the changes, it would overturn a Board ruling in 2011 that deemed the risky webcam abortions acceptable over the protests of pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue.

As expected, Planned Parenthood, which began the experimental webcam abortions in 2008, is not taking the Board’s decision to deprive them of their “cash cow” lying down. Jill June, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, is crying foul over an e-mail from a pro-life activist that gave the Governor’s office a “heads up” that the petition was about to be filed.

The Des Moines Register obtained one e-mail sent from Jenny Condon to Brenna Findley, counsel to Gov. Terry Branstad, on June 18, 2013, a week before the petition was submitted to the Board. According to the Register, Findley did not reply to the e-mail, but she did attend a Board hearing on June 28 and encouraged the Board to take action on the petition.

June told the Des Moines Register, “The communication between the governor’s office and anti-abortion activists confirms that there has been a synchronized effort to acquire a vote outlawing Planned Parenthood’s telemedicine delivery system based entirely on politics rather than scientific fact.”

However, June’s false indignation is laughably ridiculous in light of her abortion business’ own cozy political connections to the Attorney General’s office.

In 2010, Operation Rescue became suspicious of the political obstructions we experienced during efforts to halt the controversial and experimental webcam abortion pill delivery scheme. We made an open records request for communications between Planned Parenthood and the office of Attorney General Tom Miller, a pro-abortion Democrat.

Instead of one e-mail, Operation Rescue received a massive, 906-page stack of communications in response to our request that showed a tight co-ordination between the Attorney General’s office and Planned Parenthood on numerous levels, as well as evidence of interference by the AG’s office in efforts by Operation Rescue to obtain county-level investigations into allegations that Planned Parenthood offices were using the webcam abortion scheme to evade Iowa law requiring the presence of a licensed physician during abortions.

Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, was involved in efforts to halt webcam abortions in Iowa after our undercover investigation documented the risky process. He described the relationships between Planned Parenthood representatives and employees of the Attorney General’s office as revealed in the glut of documents obtained from Miller’s office:

They attend the same parties, they ask about each other’s surgeries or how the grandkids are. Some AG staffers subscribe to Planned Parenthood’s e-mail distribution list. Planned Parenthood staffers have alerted the AG’s office to potential negative information about political opponents and even forward some of our press releases to Miller’s people. Miller’s office has aided PPH staffers in pursuing employment opportunities in the AG’s office.

Certainly, one e-mail from a pro-life supporter to a member of the Governor’s office pales in comparison to the voluminous evidence of collusion over the years between Planned Parenthood and the Iowa Attorney General’s office, which has worked overtime to protect Planned Parenthood’s electronic money-making scheme. Their coziness, cronyism and corruption are the real story.

Using the experimental system, Planned Parenthood aimed to increase abortion profits by cutting the cost of having to maintain licensed physicians at offices all over the state. The system involves an abortionist, who sits at a computer station in Des Moines and briefly interviews abortion patients over a Skype-like connection. Then he pressed a button on his computer screen to release a drawer at the outlying clinic that contains the pills. Women take one round of pills at the office then are sent home to self-administer the rest of the abortion drugs, which cause an unmonitored and often painful abortion that is similar to a miscarriage.

In May 2010, Planned Parenthood admitted it was about to implement a 5-year plan to place their webcam abortion system in every Planned Parenthood office in the nation. Once the news about the plan was out, legislatures in 11 states passed laws to ban the abortion pill distribution system in order to protect women from substandard care. This caused Planned Parenthood to scrap their plan. Currently, Minnesota is the only state outside Iowa to implement webcam abortions.

“Planned Parenthood is fighting to keep what is left of their pet profit-producing abortion pill scheme by attempting to vilify the Governor’s Office when, if the truth be known, it is really Planned Parenthood that is in bed with the Iowa Attorney General’s office, which as overtly acted to protect webcam abortions,” said Newman.

“We applaud efforts by the Iowa Medical Board to protect women from Planned Parenthood’s predatory scheme that subjects women to care that is well below accepted standards and those efforts are not derailed by leftist media spin and Planned Parenthood’s false hysteria.”

Read the report with link to the 906 pages of communications between Planned Parenthood and the Iowa Attorney General’s office.

[Note: We erroneous noted in an earlier version of this story that Mark Bowden was General Counsel for the Iowa Board of Medicine. In fact, he is the Executive Director of the IBM and noes not provide legal counsel to the Board. We regret the error.]

Webcam Abortion Bans March Forward While Former Planned Parenthood Manager Speaks Out

Washington, D.C. — In March, 2010, Operation Rescue released a ground-breaking investigative report detailing the discovery that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland was engaged in the experimental practice of distributing abortion pills over a video-conferencing connection without the presence of a licensed physician, which became known as “telemed” or “webcam” abortions. That report shocked the pro-life community nationwide.

Soon after, Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger, who authored the report, received a phone call from Sue Thayer, who explained that she was a former manager of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Storm Lake, Iowa, where the telemed abortion scheme was implemented in 2008. Thayer confirmed all the facts of Operation Rescue’s telemed abortion investigation, including the fact that the lower overhead associated with telemed abortions made them a “mega-moneymaker” for Planned Parenthood even though there were increased risks for women.

When Thayer raised her concerns about telemed abortions, she was “let go” from Planned Parenthood.

Since then, Sue Thayer has come forward as a pro-life woman with an important story to tell. Thayer recently published an opinion column in the Washington Times exposing the dangers of telemed abortions and voicing her concerns about Planned Parenthood placing money over the health and safety of women. She described “abortion quotas” every clinic was ordered to meet, and how abortion revenues account for 46% of its operating budget.

Within 13 months of the release of Operation Rescue’s investigative report, Arizona became the first of six states to ban telemed abortions. Iowa Congressman Steve King (R-IA) has also talked to Thayer about a potential federal initiative.

This year, Missouri lawmakers are attempting to regulate the distribution of the abortion pill that is responsible for at least 15 patient deaths. In addition to the mandatory presence of a licensed physician, the Missouri bill aims to restrict the use of the dangerous drugs to under seven weeks gestation, which is in keeping with FDA safety protocols. Currently Planned Parenthood routinely administers the drugs through nine weeks gestation, even though risks to the woman’s health increase with each successive week of pregnancy.

Webcam abortion bans are also currently being considered in Indiana and Wisconsin, where a contentious debate took place in the Statehouse in Madison on Wednesday.

“Planned Parenthood continues to strenuously oppose any kind of health and safety rules for their webcam scam, proving that women’s safety is secondary to profit,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “Webcam abortions are not about women’s health. It is all about keeping overhead down and abortion traffic high in order to squeeze the last dime possible out of vulnerable women who are faced with crisis pregnancies. Webcam abortions are predatory in nature and demean women by denying them adequate medical care.”

Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood office in Storm Lake where Thayer once worked is slated to close on March 1, an answer to prayer for the former Planned Parenthood manager.

Operation Rescue continues to work to expose the dangers of webcam abortions and partner with pro-life groups to aid in the passage of laws that protect women from being preyed upon by Planned Parenthood’s telemed abortion scheme.

Read Sue Thayer’s Washington Times article “Planned Parenthood’s Big Lie”

North Dakota Abortion Clinic Sues to Continue Dangerous Misuse of Abortion Pills

Fargo, North Dakota – The Red River Women’s Clinic, which is the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, is challenging a new law that is aimed at protecting women from the misuse of the dangerous abortion-inducing drug mifeprex, also known as RU486.

East Central District Judge Wickham Corwin issued a temporary restraining order against the law on August 1, then heard arguments about its Constitutionality on Friday, January 27, 2012. Judge Corwin delayed making a decision until he could review more information about the safety of the drug. Additional briefs are due in two weeks.

The new law would virtually ban medication abortions in North Dakota and would place the requirement that a licensed physician be present when the drugs are administered. This would prevent what is known as telemed or “webcam” abortions from taking place where unlicensed and inadequately trained workers dispense the dangerous drugs after the patient has had a brief consultation over an Internet video conferencing connection with an abortionist in another location. This abortion pill distribution was first uncovered by an Operation Rescue undercover investigation.

Attorneys for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion New York law firm, argue that the law creates an “undue burden” on women.

Clinic director Tammy Kromenaker told reporters that the FDA protocol “isn’t good for women” and defended her misuse of the two drug cocktail. Twenty percent of Kromenaker’s annual abortion business is done in medication abortions.

“It is ludicrous to say that requiring steps to ensure patient safety creates an ‘undue burden’ on them. I’d rather be inconvenienced than dead,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue and Pro-life Nation. “This is really about keeping that abortion clinic open no matter who suffers.”

Currently the Red River Women’s Clinic uses an off-label application of the abortion pill in conjunction with an ulcer drug called Cytotec (Misoprostol) to force women to artificially abort their pre-born babies in an event that simulates miscarriage. Manufacturers of Cytotec have issued warnings against using the drug to induce abortions.

Red River Women’s Clinic also uses the abortion pill in violation of FDA protocols, which require at least two office visits in addition to follow-up care and limits the use of RU-486 to under seven weeks. Red River improperly uses the abortion pill through nine weeks of pregnancy. The medication abortion process causes the body to reject the implanted baby and force contractions to expel the remains. It can be a long, painful process that lasts multiple days. The abortion fails 7-20% of the time, creating a potentially life-threatening condition that requires surgical intervention.

There have been at least 15 documented deaths from use of the abortion pill.

“We do not support the use of the abortion pill under any circumstances out of concern for women and their pre-born babies. However, the rejection of the FDA’s minimal safety protocols by Red River Women’s Clinic shows that they care more about protecting a significant portion of their abortion income than they care about the health and safety of women,” said Sullenger. “They don’t want to follow the rules they and they don’t want to follow the law because they are abortionists and think they are above the law. We hope that the judge considering this case does the right thing and protects women from predatory abortion practices such as the dangerous misuse of abortion-causing drugs.”

What Killer Cantaloupes and Abortion Pills Say About the Value of Life

By Cheryl Sullenger

Recently there has been a major food-borne illness outbreak in the United States. The Center for Disease Control has traced the outbreak of listeria, an often fatal bacterial contagion, to cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Colorado. So far at least 13 people have died and 72 have been sickened from eating the tainted fruit.

Authorities have asked that grocery stores pull the Jensen Farms cantaloupes from the shelf. They warn people that if they are not sure where their cantaloupes came from, they should throw them away.

“Honestly, as a nurse, I would tell people don’t eat the cantaloupe until this thing resolves itself,” said Laura Anderko, a Georgetown University public health expert. “This stuff happens because our system is not as tight as it needs to be.”

Contrast the cantaloupe hysteria with the lack of concern over a similar number of deaths caused by the RU-486 abortion pill.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration reported in July that 14 U.S. women have died after taking RU-486 and a total of 2,207 reported adverse effects after using the drug.

That makes the abortion pill more dangerous than tainted cantaloupes.

But the official response to these deaths has been to call the drug “safe” and promote it on the market. It seems that the deaths of over a dozen people are only a problem when abortion is not involved. When it is, then the deaths become an acceptable risk.

It seems to us that abortion pills should be treated with at least the same precautions to public health as listeria-laden melons. They should be pulled from the shelf. The public should be warned. The fatal pills should be traced back to the distributor, Danco Laboratories, and destroyed.

If they can do that for dangerous fruit, why not for the more dangerous abortion pill?

Instead, we get Jill June of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, dispensing the deadly pills over Internet vending machines without even a physician present and spouting nonsense about the so-called “safety” of the scheme.

“It’s the way medical practice is taking place today,” June told the Lincoln Star in January. “The fact is we are providing a service women are asking us to provide. And it’s been proven to be safe and effective.”

In reality, Jensen Farms cantaloupes have been proven to be safer than the abortion pill. While they have killed a similar number of people, the abortion pill has sickened over 30 times as many people as the melons. People may ask for Jensen Farms cantaloupes at the grocery store, but no reputable grocer would supply them. There would be dire consequences for those that did.

It just goes to show that if a woman is getting an abortion, concerns for her health and safety go out the window. Maybe that is because “our system is not as tight as it needs to be.”

Yet, any attempt to protect women from the irresponsible distribution of abortion pills is met with the harshest criticism and opposition.

Shockingly even Communist China has more sense than this. Known as one of the greatest abusers of human rights in the world through their brutal one-child, forced-abortion policies, they have expressed concern and taken action to protect women from the dangers of RU-486.

“Press reports from Henan province and Chengdu relate cases where women narrowly escaped death when excessive bleeding occurred after taking RU-486 without a physician’s supervision,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. In 2001, China banned all pharmaceutical sales of RU-486 in order “to guarantee patients’ safety and protect their health.”

Right now in our country, the lives of people who eat cantaloupes are considered of more value than those of pregnant women and their pre-born babies. There cannot be such hypocritical and inequitable treatment of life under the same roof. If our nation is truly one where “all men are created equal” then all human life has value and deserves protection, or none of it does.

Victory! Kansas Passes Clinic Regulations That Will Save Lives

Topeka, Kansas — The Kansas Senate voted 24-15 yesterday to pass a bill that would force two annual inspections of abortion clinics, ban telemed “webcam” abortions, and give the Department of Health and Environment authority to fine and close abortion clinics that do not comply with the new law. It will also require abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their clinic.

The bill earlier passed the House and now heads to the desk of Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised to sign it.

“This new law, for the first time, will allow authorities to exercise true oversight of abortion businesses that have never been inspected or accountable to anyone until now,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “These common sense standards will also save lives and protect women by preventing the expansion of dangerous web cam abortions into this state. We applaud the Kansas Legislature, especially efforts by Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, for ensuring that abortion clinics comply with the law or close. We expect that some will close rather than clean up, which says a lot about the abortion cartel’s general lack of concern for the health and safety of women.”

Four other times, similar clinic regulation bills passed with comfortable majorities in both the House and the Senate, only to be vetoed by former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a rabid promoter of unrestricted abortion who now serves as Secretary of Health and Human Services. The last state-wide elections swept away the last administration that created a political climate that covered up for abortion abuses.

Operation Rescue worked in support of the new clinic regulations.

“This is a victory that was years in the making. We thank our supporters for calling and writing Senators in Kansas in support of this new law that will save the lives of babies and provide protections to vulnerable women who are preyed upon by unscrupulous abortionists that cut corners on safety in the interest of increasing profit,” said Newman.

Kansas has a history of notoriously troubled abortion clinics. Operation Rescue discovered appallingly filthy and unsafe conditions when it bought and closed a Wichita abortion clinic in 2006. Another Wichita abortion clinic was responsible for at least one patient death and sent numerous women to the hospital suffering life-threatening abortion complications. A clinic in Kansas City was found to be operating under unbelievably filthy conditions and closed because the abortionist lost his medical license, not because of the conditions themselves.

Three abortion clinics remain in Kansas.

Earlier this session, Kansas passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on the fact that pre-born babies can feel pain and a new parental consent law that requires abortionists to obtain notarized signatures of both parents before girls 17 or under can get abortions.