shhhhhThe Des Moines Register alleged for months that 3,000 women underwent Planned Parenthood’s webcam (telemedicine) abortions and no one complained.  Now Planned Parenthood’s own medical director Dr. Jill Meadows is claiming no patient complaints to Planned Parenthood either.

Planned Parenthood’s Meadows said in a statement to the Register, “Over the past 5 years, our physicians have provided medication abortion through telemedicine to more than 3,000 women in Iowa.  During that time we have received no patient complaints.”  (Des Moines Register, 9/30/13)

But former Planned Parenthood manager, Sue Thayer, is speaking out, saying, “This is a flat-out lie.”

Thayer, who was the manager of Planned Parenthood’s Storm Lake location for 17 years explained that Planned Parenthood documents adverse events or complaints in what they call an “Occurrence Report.”

“Through staff meetings and informal contact with other managers, I know that several complained about the high complication rate with medication abortions, with one saying that since the start of webcam, all she did was occurrence reports to deal with all the complications,” said Thayer.

Thayer added, “If a woman goes to the Emergency Room, Planned Parenthood never counts that – either they don’t know about it or they count it unrelated to the abortion.”

Occurrence Reports are reviewed and sent to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, but they are kept internal.  When asked if there were any inspections by outside agencies, Thayer said, “No.”

“As far as any investigation by the state, the medical board, or any official group, never. In all my years there, there was never any type of inspection,” stated Thayer.

“In Storm Lake I personally spoke with several women who had taken the pills and were having excessive bleeding,” continued Thayer.  “We had several women come in saying they had changed their minds after taking the first set of pills and wondering what they could do.” (See Medication Abortion: How It Works, p.6)

“I saw that many problems in a center that wasn’t even doing webcam abortions,” added Thayer. “How many more complications do they see in a big center that does them all the time?”

Thayer left Planned Parenthood in 2008, after the rollout of the webcam abortions began.  (For more on her story, see IRTL News, December 2011 at

Jenny Condon, Executive Director of InnerVisions HealthCare, a free medical clinic in West Des Moines said she has also talked to women who have had medication abortion complications.

“At InnerVisions, we have taken calls from several women who have been given the abortion pill and experienced side effects that were much worse than they anticipated,” Condon said. “These effects range from extensive bleeding and cramping to irrational behavior that follows the visual experience of seeing the remains of their baby in a toilet. An experience they did not anticipate.”

An interesting fact — while Planned Parenthood said “there were no patient complaints” in their 9/30/13 press release about their lawsuit against the IBOM. That’s not what their lawsuit said.

Here is an excerpt from the lawsuit text, filed in Polk County District Court the same day (my emphasis in bold):

PPHeartland has performed more than 5,000 medical abortions through the telemedicine delivery system.  These have been without any evidence of complications any more frequently (which is rarely) or different than medical abortions provided with the physician physically present when the pharmaceuticals are provided and the Mifeprex ingested.

Now there are complications—just not more frequent when a physician is present. (It’s frightening to ponder what that means in Planned Parenthood-speak.)  Don’t worry about these women with the complications —because nobody complained.  We don’t buy it…and neither should you. We have shown post-abortive women are unlikely to file complaints. That does not mean there are no complications or that those complications should be ignored.

Photo credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr (CC-By-2.0)

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