Blog Post

Lawmakers Confront HHS Secretary on "TeleMed Abortion" Scheme

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist

In a letter signed by 71 lawmakers, Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is being asked to provide information about the extent to which federal tax dollars are being used to fund "telemed abortions", which involves the distribution of the dangerous abortion pill, RU 486, via an internet interview with a physician rather than the required in-person care.

"RU-486 is a dangerous drug that has been associated with at least 11 deaths and thousands of cases of excessive bleeding and infection," wrote the letter's author, Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

"Evading FDA guidelines by dispensing RU-486 through telemedicine has the potential to increase complications and fatalities associated with its use. We cannot allow taxpayer dollars to be used to support 'telemed abortions.'"

The telemed abortion scheme is being used by abortion clinics in Iowa where there is no permanent physician on staff. However, Planned Parenthood has recently indicated that they plan to expand this dangers practice to all of its member clinics nationwide.

"Planned Parenthood's telemed/webcam abortion scheme strips away any semblance of a doctor-patient relationship," said Operation Rescue president, Troy Newman. "After the abortionist electronically pops open a drawer to dispense the abortion drugs, the abortionist never sees the patient again, even if there are complications. This is a mockery of the doctor/patient relationship and a complete misuse of telemedicine."

In the Fiscal Year 2010 Congress designated $11.6 million for HHS telemedicine programs, which are intended for the development of services in rural areas.

"A common misconception is that telemed abortion is for women in rural areas. However, Planned Parenthood's Iowa telemed sites are located in major population centers, including the county with the highest population in the state," said Newman. "Telemed abortions are Planned Parenthood's solution to a shortage of abortionists. It helps them access customers in otherwise abortion-free population centers in order to increase revenue while disregarding the health and safety of women."

"We support Rep. King and the other members of Congress in their effort to get to the bottom of where our tax money is going. If it is funding this telemed abortion scheme, the people have a right to know, and a right to demand that the funding be stopped."

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