Within the past two years, Iowa’s largest abortion provider has been on a spending spree—gobbling up smaller Planned Parenthood affiliates in Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, building new mega abortion mills, and launching a capital campaign to create 12 new clinics. The secret to its success? Telemed abortions. Once struggling financially, it now boasts nearly $1 million in annual profits with no end in sight.
In September of 2009, Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa and Planned Parenthood of Nebraska & Council Bluffs merged to form one affiliate, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH). The new organization had 23 clinics throughout Nebraska and 86 of Iowa’s counties.
In December of 2010, PPH announced its acquisition of Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa. After the merger is completed sometime this year, PPH will have a total of 25 clinics and 3 “education resource centers” in Nebraska and 91 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
On July 1st of this year, PPH announced that its merger with Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa was completed, making it the only Planned Parenthood affiliate in either Iowa or Nebraska. PPH now performs approximately 69% of the abortions in the two states, with the rest of the abortions predominately performed by Dr. LeRoy Carhart in Nebraska and the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa.
Dominating the abortion market in Iowa and Nebraska is apparently not enough for PPH, for it recently announced its acquisition of Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Once completed by the end of this year, PPH will have “approximately 30 health centers located throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.”
Apparent ly Big Abortion has grown so large it can only approximate the number of clinics it has. But PPH is reducing some of them, only to replace them with mega clinics. For instance, in May PPH announced that it is opening a “new state of the art facility [in Lincoln], which will consolidate the two existing health centers.” Last year, PPH replaced an old clinic in Omaha with a new facility that has the infamous distinction of being the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Omaha to provide abortions.
This is a remarkable turnaround for PPH, which, pre-merger, was financially in the red. According to their IRS 990 forms, Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa lost a total of $471,246 through 2006-08, while Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs lost $250,697 between 2007-09.
But then PPH struck gold in 2008 when, despite initial claims to the contrary, it began to prescribe the abortion pill RU-486 over the internet. Now it proudly proclaims in its 2010 annual report that over the past year “telemedicine abortion care continued to be rolled out to almost all of our health centers in Iowa. We now provide remote service at 16 of the 19 centers in the state.”
Not surprisingly, PPH has seen the number of abortions it performs increase substantially with the introduction of telemed abortions. According to its 2007 Annual Report, PPH performed 2,512 surgical abortions and only 1,185 RU-486 abortions. Its 2009 Annual Report, however, showed that, for the first time ever, PPH performed more RU-486 abortions (2,582) than surgical (2,210), a 54% increase in RU-486 abortions since 2007.
Noticeably, PPH’s 2010 Annual Report didn’t bother to breakdown the total number of abortions it performed as either surgical or RU-486. During that year, it performed a total of 5,685 abortions in both Iowa and Nebraska, 893 more abortions than the previous year and 1,988 more than in 2007. There were a total of 8,380 abortions in Iowa and Nebraska that year (5,829 in Iowa and 2,551 in Nebraska), giving PPH a 69% share of the market.
With the increase in telemed RU-486 abortions, priced at $300 to as much as$1,000 a piece, has come a 35% increase in revenue since 2007. PPH only made $9,457,855 in “patient services” (plus $1,141,214 in government grants) in 2007, while that number increased to $11,323,317 in patient services (plus $1,398,838 in government grants) in 2009 and $14,574,132 in patient services (plus $1,432,599 in government grants) in 2010.
In two short years, PPH has gone from being nearly half a million dollars in the red to, according to its 2010 Annual Report, a $923,142 profit, all thanks to a telemed abortion business model which it hopes to expand upon. For instance, Rose Mimms, Executive Director of Arkansas Right to Life, told The Iowa Republican (TIR) that the two Planned Parenthood clinics in her state “have been having trouble keeping a doctor. The recent merger news leads me to believe that they are planning a megaclinic in AR and [will] introduce webcam abortions.”
That’s a pretty safe bet, considering that the only way Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, which posted a whopping $1,224,791 in the red for the years 2007-09, will ever see black ink is by following PPH’s business model.
But PPH is planning on expanding locally as well, having announced in April a $11.5 million capital campaign to open 12 new clinics in Iowa and Nebraska over the next five years. PPH will doubtless perform telemed abortions at these new clinics as a part of its outreach to “poor rural women,” which is of course why it offers telemed abortions at the Susan Knapp Planned Parenthood right next to Drake University in Des Moines.
Actually, all of these new locations have one thing in common—they are in community college markets:
- Carter Lake (near Council Bluffs, Iowa Western Community College)
- Mason City (North Iowa Area Community College)
- Muscatine (Eastern Iowa Community College in Muscatine)
- Ottumwa (Indian Hills Community College)
- Marshalltown (Iowa Valley Community College)
- Clinton (Eastern Iowa Community College)
- Norfolk (Northeast Community College)
- Grand Island & Hastings (Central Community College)
- Fremont (Midland University)
- North Platte (North Platte Community College)
- Kearney (University of Nebraska Kearney)
Unfortunately for the women who receive a telemed RU-486 abortion, the abortionist will not be in the same room as them, much less the same city, should they have any complications. According to a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report, 14 women died in the United States alone from using RU-486 and 2,207 women have experienced an “adverse event” that required 612 women to seek hospitalization, 339 women to have a blood transfusion, and 256 women to experience infections.
Because of the risks involved with a RU-486 abortion, the FDA requires “that the managing physician be able to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, manage the risks of abortion, including bleeding and infection, and be able to conduct a surgical abortion if necessary or quickly refer a patient to a provider who is trained, qualified, and readily available to do so.”
Regrettably, that is something that PPH is unable to provide when it prescribes telemed abortions. And instead of following the FDA’s mandated three office visits over a two-week period, PPH condenses it into a single visit.
Though Nebraska and Oklahoma currently ban telemed abortions, Iowa and Arkansas do not—tragically allowing PPH to get rich at the expense of the health and safety of the women it supposedly cares so much about.
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