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Planned Parenthood and Women’s Health and Safety

by Options for Women on March 6, 2015
“…we never stop fighting to protect access to safe and legal abortion and to advance women’s health…”
This is a line taken directly from the Planned Parenthood annual report. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but is it true? Are they really, truly fighting for the health and safety of women?
Sadly, we think the opposite is true. Rather than fighting for the safety of the very women they claim to care about, their lobbying seems instead to be for access to abortion, without any limitations or oversights. And it has had dangerous consequences for women.
Consider this – in 2011, the FDA published the following statistics concerning mifepristone, one of the drugs used in chemical abortions:
  • 2,207 women reported adverse events or complications
  • 612 women were hospitalized
  • 339 required blood transfusions
  • 256 women reported infections
  • At least 14 deaths were associated with these drugs
And those are statistics from 4 years ago, so consider the numbers that have been added to that.
And yet Planned Parenthood, the so-called champions for women’s health and safety, has fought against legislation seeking to limit what have become known as “web cam abortions.” In these cases, a doctor is at a completely different location than the woman seeking the abortion – perhaps not even in the same city. The doctor reviews the woman’s files, then asks her questions. Then, if she has answered the questions to his or her satisfaction, the doctor simply clicks a mouse, and a drawer holding the abortion drugs is unlocked in the woman’s location.
The woman takes the first dose at the office, then takes the remaining pills home to administer herself. There is no follow-up appointment, no one to ensure any side effects the woman may face are normal and pose no threat to her health.
Telemedicine is used throughout the country, however, it’s mainly for physicians to be able to share charts, X-rays, etc. with one another, or to monitor medical devices being used by patients. Telemedicine in the case of abortion is dangerous, because there is no doctor present to give the woman a physical examination and no follow-up after to ensure the health and safety of the woman.
If Planned Parenthood is as concerned as they claim with women’s health and safety, why would they fight against bills introduced in states around the country to end the use of telemedicine in the case of abortions?
But this isn’t the only thing Planned Parenthood has fought. Four states enacted laws requiring physicians who perform abortions also have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Admitting privileges are important, because it allows a physician to admit a patient should an unexpected side effect or emergency arise, and then the doctor can provide care while the patient is in the hospital.
But more than that, admitting privileges also can work as a safety check on the physician. The hospital will check the doctor’s medical credentials, license and malpractice history. This works to ensure that the physician is credible and professional.
Pro-life groups believe admitting privileges are important because, once a physician begins a medical procedure, he or she should then be responsible for following through with the patient until the outcome is reached.
This isn’t the case with abortion of any kind. Once the patient has left the abortionist’s office, she is on her own. If a medical emergency then occurs, she has no one to protect or help her until she seeks out medical help on her own.
Yet, Planned Parenthood has fought admitting privileges laws in the states where they have been introduced.
Thirty-nine states limit abortion services to only licensed physicians. But Planned Parenthood also lauded expansion in California’s access to abortion by lobbying to allow a host of providers, not just licensed doctors, to perform abortions. We strongly believe that this opens women up to face dangerous situations, and without the care of a licensed and well-vetted physician, potentially harmful situations that can put their health and lives in danger.
Rather than trying to protect women’s health, it seems that Planned Parenthood’s main goal is to ensure that abortion is available anytime, anywhere, and with no restriction or oversight. And unfortunately, this is damaging to women and dangerous for their health.