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Posts Tagged ‘telemed abortions’

Why do we too often go along with the crowd, even when we know it’s wrong?  Instead of voicing what we know to be true, we remain silent when we should speak up.  Is it because we’re afraid of being different?  Ridiculed? Ill-equipped to defend the truth?

Polls reveal that the majority of people don’t like abortion, but let it be a “private matter.”  Biology proves that human life begins at conception, but the majority of people resist asking the questions that help make other people think.  A national silence has denied over 53 million babies the right to life and left their mothers in denial, depression, shame, unhealthy lifestyles, and grief.

Once we have seen, however, it is difficult to un-see. Abby Johnson’s conscience wouldn’t let her deny the facts any longer. As the director of a Planned Parenthood (PP) clinic in Texas, she had seen too much. Her book, Un-Planned speaks to everyone willing to hear.  Abby is not alone.  Sue Thayer managed a PP clinic in Storm Lake, IA., about two hours from where I live, until 2008.  Her clinic was scheduled to start doing telemed abortions.  Sue voiced her concern even though, as a single parent, she was uneasy with the possibility of losing her job and the benefits and health insurance that came with it.  Sue couldn’t be silent.  So she was fired.

Sue became a PP center manager in 1991.  It was required that she and staff observe at least one day of surgical abortions.  She did just that at the Central PP Clinic in Des Moines.  During that eight hour day, the doctor performed about 30 abortions.  Some of the women were further along in their pregnancies than they had reported.  “Contents of the uterus” were placed in glass bowls, then examined under a light.  Sue explained, “One bowl clearly contained three perfect, tiny arms.  I asked why there would be a third arm.  ‘Twins’ was the response and because it might upset the mother, this information wasn’t shared.”

Sue set about trying to prevent the need for abortion during her next 17 years at PP in Storm Lake.  But, in 2008, PP of Greater Iowa announced that all PPGI clinics would be offering telemed abortions.  Sue said, “A doctor in Des Moines would be connected via webcam with a patient at any one of the PPGI’s 17 centers.  According to PPGI, this constituted a doctor’s visit.  After speaking briefly via webcam, the doctor would push a button in the Des Moines office whereupon a drawer in front of the patient at the remote center would open.  Inside the drawer were two different medicines — one to kill the baby, taken immediately at the clinic, and a second one to take later at home which would cause contractions and eventually expel the dead baby.”

Sue continued. “PPGI ordered that all staff, medical and non-medical alike would be required to do vaginal ultrasounds.  I asked what qualifications were required to perform this invasive procedure and was told that ‘if you are breathing, you can do a vaginal ultrasound’ . . . I asked if they would be notifying doctors and hospitals in each community and was told that they definitely would not be sharing any information . . . PPGI wanted to establish a ‘standard of care’ with the goal of 500 to 1000 [telemed]abortions completed before any public announcement was made.”

Telemed abortions, Sue was told, would be done through 63 days from conception. “We were all familiar with using the morning after pill (“Plan B”), but this was only given up to five days after unprotected intercourse.”  Now, patients seeking abortions wouldn’t have to drive to a surgical center.  And, no waiting. Sue was told “forty five minutes, in and out.”  She remembers one PP manager commenting, “It’s about time women can get an abortion whenever and wherever they want.  It’s no different than getting a Pap smear.”

Sue was concerened about safety — for the patient, staff, and herself.  What would the complication rate be?  Would women be alone when they took the second pill at home?  Sue continued to insist that “we were all about preventing abortions.”  Now, she was being forced to be involved in every aspect of an abortion.  There were more questions for Sue.  What about the local doctors who might have to attend to women coming in with symptoms of an incomplete abortion?  Sue’s boss explained that telemed abortion patients are told that if they do have to go to the ER, not to mention the two pills they’ve taken.

But, once you have seen, it is difficult to un-see.  The new ultrasound machines, Sue explained, “were so high-tech that even little fingers and toes could be seen.  Long time surgical staffers struggled when they would see images of the baby they were about to abort . . . [yet] this amazing image of the baby is never shown to the mother.”  Sue voiced what she knew to be wrong.  She expressed serious concerns.  She was willing to be different.  To take a risk… for life. 

There are many like Abby and Sue.  Several years ago I invited Joan Appleton,  a former abortion nurse, to tell her story during a national conference.  Joan and hundreds of soul-weary and sick-at-heart men and women like her are part of the Society of Centurians.  They left the abortion industry to speak up.  Contrast right with wrong. Today, former abortion doctors and nurses, PP employees, and women who’ve had abortions are silent no more.  They know that the truth sets people free.

The Lighthouse, a caring pregnancy center that I co-founded with two other moms, is a place where we do more than speak up.  We walk with young women in times of difficulty.  Why?  Because once we see, it is difficult to un-see.   Then, it is time to help.  Shed light into darkness.  Equip with truth.  Risk being different…. for the sake of another.   

For more information on PPGI and Sue’s story, please visit Iowa Right to Life

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