Planned Parenthood using telemed in Alaska; plans Northwest expansion

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I've previously said I think Planned Parenthood's plans to commit RU-486 telemed abortions nationwide are much farther along than they're letting on....

PP has been trying to backpedal ever since PP of East Central IA Dir. of Patient Services Barbara Chadwick let the cat out of the bag to IA Public Radio on May 21, but what she spoke was truth:

"We have been looking at initiating abortion service as a core service of all PPs, part of the Federation's strategic plan for 2015."

Medical abortions, Chadwick says, will be a key element in that strategy, and signing up for the long distance option will get her organization toward the goal faster.

I found the information below by googling "telemedicine Planned Parenthood." Just as Pro-Life WI looked back and realized what PP of WI has been up to, so we can look back at information PP of the Great Northwest has had out for quite some time to gain an understanding of PP's big telemed picture

First IA, then WI, now AK... These aren't isolated or coincidental plans.

Here's what's been going on at PPGNW, chronologically...

PPGNW 2009 Annual Report:

We learned a lot in 2009. We harnessed technology for teaching and training as well as tested telemedicine services....

[O]ur primary focus remains on the health care needs of people in the Great Northwest. We'll continue to increase access through online services and take the next step in expansion of our telemedicine project in AK....

The Marysville Globe, March 23, 2010:

PPGNW's next challenges include... the adoption of telemedicine technologies, so that the agency can serve people in the most remote places that PPGNW covers.

Winter 2010 PPGNW newsletter:

We have completed our telemedicine pilot to benefit our most rural sites. In some areas in AK, patients do not have access to the services of a clinician without traveling to the closest large town, which can involve both boat and plane trips.

In a recent pilot test of this technology, a PPGNW clinician in ID, licensed in AK, with the help of medical assistants at our health center in Soldotna, AK, provided routine examinations and even prescribed contraception to 7 patients in Soldotna, using video conferencing and data transfer technologies. All involved felt it was a great success! We will be rolling out this new technology in Juneau and other rural health centers in AK soon.

Spring 2010 PPGNW newsletter, a full blown article on telemed (page 4)...

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... PPGNW decided to adopt telemedicine to increase clinician availability in rural areas such as Soldotna and Sitka, AK. It is often difficult to find and maintain full time clinicians in smaller communities. Without a clinician on site... a licensed provider would have to fly to the nearest health center, increasing costs....

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Services offered through telemedicine include discussing birth control methods and receiving prescriptions, emergency contraceptive visits, STI screenings, and options education.

PPGNW currently offers telemedicine in AK, but plans to expand the use of this new technology. Telemedicine allows PPGNW providers to... strive toward meeting the needs of people in rural communities, underserved areas, and small towns across our Great Northwest.

I wondered what "options education" is. From PP:

If you are pregnant, you have three options to think about - abortion, adoption, and parenting....

Family planning clinics, like your local PP health center, have specially trained staff who can talk with you about all of your options. But beware of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers". These are fake clinics run by people who are anti-abortion. They often don't give women all their options. They have a history of scaring women into not having abortions....

So PP apparently has a video or "counselors" ready to steer pregnant mothers in crisis and in isolated areas away from getting free help from a pregnancy care center to carry a baby to term, thereby narrowing their "options." The next logical step, since an abortionist would otherwise have to be flown in, is to make a handy little abortion pill available.


How in the heck did this get this far without publicity? I live in one of the states mentioned and didn't know this.

As far as the sob story about Soldotna, AK, they are NOT the remote little town the article makes them sound like. It's about a two hour drive, depending on traffic, from Anchorage. It can take longer than that to drive across Seattle at rush hour. Furthermore, Soldotna is primarily white, not Alaska Native.

As for the more remote Native villages of Alaska which are closer to the "end of the earth", what happens if they have complications with the remote abortions PP seems to be planning? There are no roads and if there are problems, the only way to a hospital is usually by air.

FWIW, they usually fly the girls into town. The abortionist would lose too much money if s/he got weathered in for a week or so in the bush (off-road Alaska). If people don't like or approve of what you do in some of the bush villages, it is really hard to find affordable shelter and food :)

So if she can't get to town for an abortion, how does she get to a hospital for complications if they are planning to distribute the abortion pill via telemed? I kind of doubt the taxpayers will want to subsidize National Guard choppers as PP's taxi service.

Their own argument works just as well against them. Thanks for the warning.

Posted by: sabella at June 18, 2010 2:59 AM


As I worked on a post for my blog based on this post 2 questions came to mind. The 1st, has PPGNW already had any "telemed abortion" trial runs?

2nd; Where else in the USA has PP already rolled out or is in the process of rolling out telemed technology?

Something tells me this is a lot further along in a lot more places than PP would like us to know.

Posted by: Al at June 18, 2010 3:13 AM

Al, all I have to go on is what PPGNW wrote, and it appears not to have crossed the line of telemed abortions yet. But it is clear by what we know that telemed abortions are in its sights.

Yes, that's what I've been indicating in my posts. I agree "this is a lot further along in a lot more places than PP would like us to know."

Sabella, thanks for the additional information. Yes, their talking points work against them.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at June 18, 2010 4:43 AM

I again raise questions about prescription dispensing via telemedicine, and now I'll include STI screening. I truly don't know: are there certifications/minimum standards for dispensing medication in Alaska? If so, I would be very interested if the secretary manning the desk and setting up the video-conference is licensed/trained to dispense prescribed medicines.

Similarly, for STI screenings- what are the medical standards for doing swabs (since I assume that is how they are doing the screening)? What about any visual examination during the screening? I assume that the on-site aide would be doing the visual exam herself and not panning a video camera around the patient. What are the Alaskan standards for conducting patient exams like this? Finally, are there labs in these remote villages that can handle the screening samples, or is every PPs chop-shop equipped to process the screening samples?

The more PP goes forward with this, the more questions I have of their ability to meet their rigorous standards and exemplary history of compliance with local and federal laws regarding medical treatment (snark intended).

Posted by: Michael at June 18, 2010 7:31 AM

But beware of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers". These are fake clinics run by people who are anti-abortion. They often don't give women all their options. They have a history of scaring women into not having abortions....

And PP has a history of scaring women into not carrying their babies to term.....

Posted by: Susie at June 18, 2010 7:49 AM

CPCs don't turn the ultrasound screen away from women and hide the baby's picture from them. They also don't show them a "dot" on a piece of paper like Carla got shown at PP. They offer hope and help to these women who are scared.

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at June 18, 2010 7:55 AM

MA is getting our choose life plates, and the newspapers are writing up their ridiculously biased articles:

Posted by: ycw at June 18, 2010 11:58 AM


That's good news!

If you know this woman mentioned in the story you posted a link to, could you offer to accompany her to a CPC so she can see what really goes on there? I'd bet she's never actually been to one. I doubt ANY of the pro-choice naysayers have ever been to a CPC.

Andrea Miller, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said she fears the plates “will funnel money to organizations that provide false, misleading, medically inaccurate, and in fact disproven information to women who have unintended pregnancies and who are seeking guidance about what their options are.’’

Does Miller bother to consider that it is a much more involved process to raise a child than to abort it and that CPC's provide a necessary service for those who make that choice? CHOICE is the name of the game, right PC'rs?

Posted by: Janet at June 18, 2010 2:46 PM

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