Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Finalizes Merger

By Dave Andrusko

Jill June, CEO, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

We knew it was coming, but a story in the Tulsa World newspaper today made it official.  The behemoth that is Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has now absorbed Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma “to create an affiliate that spans four states and includes three centers in Tulsa and one in Broken Arrow,” according to reporter Shannon Muchmore. The newly-expanded affiliate, which will retain Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s name, brings together 34 centers in Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

As explained when news of the impending merger went public last year, Jill June, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will stay in that post.

In carefully parsed words, a spokeswoman said, ”no decision has been made regarding whether the merger will make abortion services available at the Tulsa and Broken Arrow centers, and there is no timeline to make such a decision,” according to Muchmore.

Back in July Arkansas Right to Life and National Right to Life held a press conferences to warn of the dangers that would come with the new merger. Then and now, PP of the Heartland, which already dominates in Iowa and Nebraska with more clinics scheduled to be opened in these two states, refused to explicitly disavow one of the central assertions made by Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life: that PP of the Heartland will bring webcam abortions to Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.

In a press conference in Little Rock,  that featured Mrs. Mimms and NRLC President Carol Tobias, Mrs. Mimms began her remarks with a chilling but completely accurate prediction of one likely outcome of the merger:

“Imagine:  A young woman, pregnant, scared and confused, sitting in front of a computer screen somewhere in Small Town, Arkansas being interviewed by an abortion doctor in Sioux City, Iowa who will push a button to release the chemicals for the woman to self-administer that will kill her unborn child.

“I’ve just described a webcam abortion — coming to your town soon.”

The day before the press conference James Jefferson of the Arkansas News Bureau began his story,  “A newly merged regional Planned Parenthood office that covers Arkansas will review current services and demand before deciding whether to expand abortion services in the state, an official of the group said today.”

Jefferson ended his story with a quote from an email from June. “June did not address the procedure specifically, though she did say the merger was ‘about the future: The future of a woman and her family to access health care; the future of medicine delivery through technology and the quality services provided by Planned Parenthood.’”

Mrs. Tobias, in her remarks, began by contrasting PPFA’s “carefully crafted  public image as a protector of women’s health” with the sober reality that “Planned Parenthood is fully in the abortion business and its bottom line depends on performing more and more abortions.”

Webcam abortions, Mrs. Tobias said, are “incredibly dangerous—the woman may bleed to death or come down with a life-threatening infection and the drugs don’t always work, prompting surgery. But it does ‘expand abortion access’—and PP of the Heartland’s customer base.”

To understand the full import of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s aggressive expansion, some background is in order.

When it assimilated Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa it meant that “Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will operate 25 health centers in Iowa, four in Nebraska and three Education Resource Centers, in Des Moines, Lincoln and Omaha,” according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

And that’s just a start. A few months back CEO Jill June held a ribbon cutting for a new abortion clinic in Omaha, using the occasion to announce plans to open 12 new clinics in the next five years, part of a $11.5 million capital campaign (of which $7 million was reportedly already pledged).

June used the occasion to announce that PPH would be opening a dozen new clinics in Nebraska and Iowa over the next five years, six in each state. In Iowa new clinics are slated for Carter Lake, Clinton, Marshalltown, Mason City, Muscatine, and Ottumwa. In Nebraska, PP of the Heartland plans to open clinics in Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, and North Platte.

All this served only to whet its appetite. PPH put out a press release—picked up pretty much intact by the Associated Press—in which it announced it was absorbing (merging) with the Planned Parenthood affiliate that runs the abortion clinics in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The new and enlarged affiliate will be headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has, for many years, been one of Planned Parenthood’s more aggressive abortion-promoting affiliates,” said Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, director of NRL’s Department of Education and an expert on Planned Parenthood. “We see the fruit of that with the profitable and powerful PPH gobbling up a smaller Planned Parenthood affiliate and set to expand its abortion empire even further.”

PPH is best known outside the Midwest for its championing of webcam abortions, which it began offering web-cam abortions in 2008. Under the webcam system, an abortionist, maybe from a clinic in a large urban center, communicates with a woman at a remote location by means of a video conferencing system.

After a brief screening and counseling session, he clicks a mouse and triggers the opening of a drawer from which the woman takes out the two drugs that make up the “RU-486” chemical abortion regimen: mifepristone and misoprostol.

By January of 2011 sixteen of the PPH’s clinics in Iowa were tied into the webcam system. As of that same date PPH says more than 2,000 women have received webcam abortions, a number that is obviously already higher.

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