Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Former clinic manager: Webcam abortions in Iowa were about money

In the Washington Times, Sue Thayer, a former manager of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Iowa, writes about the introduction of "webcam abortions" (also called "telemed" abortions) in her state.
In 1991, I began working at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Storm Lake, Iowa -- first as a family planning assistant, then as a manager. I had been drawn there, as other ex-employees will attest to, by my desire to help low-income women access affordable health care. In my mind, Planned Parenthood was the "trusted friend" it claimed to be, educating and providing women with effective contraceptives so that abortion could be avoided. My rationale was strengthened by the fact that the Planned Parenthood clinic where I worked provided only family planning services.

This all changed in 2008, when Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa (now known as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland) required our clinic to begin "telemed abortions." Telemed abortion is the practice by which an abortion doctor from a remote location simply presses a button, which opens a drawer containing the dangerous abortion pill, after a brief teleconference call with the woman.

Telemed abortion doesn't only result in the death of an unborn child; it strips women of their dignity by denying them the courtesy of an in-person visit from a doctor concerned for their health and well-being. It risks their lives by sending them away with no support and a drug that has led to massive bleeding and hemorrhaging, infection and even death.

So what does Planned Parenthood, the "trusted friend of women," love so much about telemed abortions? Low overhead costs.

My superiors justified telemed abortions, lauding the financial benefits of not having to worry about or pay for specialized equipment, staff and a traveling physician -- all required with surgical abortions. ...

The final veil had been lifted and Planned Parenthood's big lie was exposed: Planned Parenthood is not about helping women access health care. Instead, it is about making money. And abortion is its moneymaker. Telemed abortion is its mega moneymaker.
Read the entirety of Thayer's piece here.

Last summer, Planned Parenthood expanded webcam abortions into Minnesota. MCCL supports legislation (not yet introduced in the Minnesota Legislature) to ban webcam abortions in our state.