Planned Parenthood is once again using the COVID-19 pandemic to expand abortion. This time, the largest abortion provider in the nation has announced its intention to expand telemedicine services nationwide, including abortion.
Telemedicine generally allows physicians to communicate with patients remotely, which might work for some of Planned Parenthood’s shrinking health services. However, under a safety system put in place by the FDA called REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy), patients accessing telemedicine for abortion would still be required to come into the facility in order to obtain the abortion pill while the abortionist is remote. Under REMS, the abortion pill regimen can only be dispensed in an approved clinic or hospital which has the ability to handle emergencies or direct the patient where she can get emergency help in case of potential serious complications including infection or hemorrhage. Women have died from taking the abortion pill. In addition, as Live Action News previously noted, Planned Parenthood’s own statistics show there is a 2-9% chance the abortion pill could fail, possibly requiring emergency care.
According to Planned Parenthood’s former research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, telemedicine for abortion (in which the clinician is remote) is currently only approved in a limited number of states, which leaves many asking how Planned Parenthood will approach this effort nationwide. While the media is giving the impression that telemedicine abortion is a nationwide move, Planned Parenthood was careful to specify this will only include “some” locations, writing in part, “Some Planned Parenthood health centers also offer counseling and follow-up for abortions through telehealth.”
According to a report published by Yahoo News, “[T]he new telehealth app means that patients will also be able to access services including testing and treatment for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), HIV testing and prevention, emergency contraception, hormone therapy, vasectomy counseling, abortion counseling, and… prescriptions for abortion pills. Doctors can prescribe the medications for an abortion through the app, but patients still have to visit a clinic because the Food and Drug Administration requires that providers distribute mifepristone, one of the drugs commonly used in medication abortions, in person….”
Planned Parenthood isn’t adding telehealth or telemedicine abortion simply because of COVID-19; the corporation has been gearing up to increase telemedicine abortion services for some time, because abortion is a significant source of the corporation’s revenue.
- In the past ten years, abortions at Planned Parenthood have risen nearly seven percent (6.67%) from 324,008 in 2008 to 345,672 in 2018.
- Planned Parenthood currently commits 40 percent of all U.S. abortions.
- Since 2000, Planned Parenthood has committed over 5.6 million abortions.
The corporation’s 2019 plan revealed this expansion when it stated in part, “Planned Parenthood will expand services in states where abortion is likely to remain legal and accessible, and invest in technology and other resources to help people living in hostile states access abortion, no matter what. We’ll do this through investing in a Regional Access Network, expanding where we offer telemedicine, and leveraging technology and innovation to help connect people to services.”
Then, in February of 2019, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands announced a national telemedicine hub opening in Hawaii, which “will serve as a hub for patients who need to travel from other islands, as well as a home for our digital and telemedicine services across the country.” Also in 2019, as Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains rolled out its telemedicine “PP Direct” app, CEO of PPRM’s Vicki Cowart said, “As the access to abortion shrinks across the country, telemedicine is one strategy for expanding patients’ access to safe, legal abortion, including for those [women] living in remote or rural areas.”
Planned Parenthood is also actively participating in a clinical trial pushing the expansion of the abortion pill by mail. Under the TelAbortion clinical trial, the abortion client (which can be a child as young as 10) is remote, instead of the abortionist. The woman consults online with the abortionist and then the abortion pill is mailed to her. To clarify, TelAbortion is not approved by the FDA. Since the supposedly limited clinical trial began in 2016, it has expanded from 50 to 1,000 participants (possibly many more than this) and — despite the fact that the FDA has not approved abortion pills by mail — TelAbortion has encroached into more and more states, growing from two to 13 states while increasing from two to 15 (and growing) locations with currently six of those locations being Planned Parenthood centers.
KARE11.com reports a Planned Parenthood in Minnesota is now offering “curbside services.” Sarah Stoesz, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood North Central States told the media outlet that clients can now “just pull up to the door” to get “whatever it is that they need.” The PP spokesperson did not indicate whether theyplanned to hand out abortion pills “curbside”, however, as Live Action News previously reported that another Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota location (located in MN) is now part of the ever expanding TelAbortion clinical trial. In 2018, that affiliate announced a merger with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, to form Planned Parenthood North Central States.
All of this proves what Planned Parenthood’s former president Leana Wen admitted at the time of her ousting: “[T]he priority of Planned Parenthood moving forward is to double down on abortion rights advocacy,” not actual health care. And the numbers prove this. A Live Action News analysis found that in 2017, the corporation’s estimated abortion revenue reached $190 million, which makes up 52% of its non-government health services revenue. Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report (2018-2019) has revealed that the taxpayer-funded abortion corporation managed to rake in a whopping $110 million in excess revenue for that year, making Planned Parenthood’s net assets for 2018 nearly $2 billion.
Editor’s Note, 4/15/20: Added paragraph on KARE11.com report.
Editor’s Note: FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in women who took mifepristone. As of June 30, 2021, there were reports of 26 deaths of women associated with mifepristone since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy located outside the womb, such as in the fallopian tubes) resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal. The adverse events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of concurrent use of other drugs, other medical or surgical treatments, co-existing medical conditions, and information gaps about patient health status and clinical management of the patient. A summary report of adverse events that reflects data through June 30, 2021 is here.
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