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With soaring medical prices, everyone is looking for ways to reduce costs—even abortion clinics.

Enter a new innovation called “telemed” abortions. Thanks to telemed abortions, Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa are now able to reduce costs and increase profits and perform more abortions without ever requiring a medical doctor onsite.

Unfortunately, as a Special Report by Operation Rescue reveals, this new cost-saving strategy is putting the health of women at risk and is, although it may be a minor concern for Planned Parenthood, most likely illegal.

So what is ‘telemed’ abortion?

General telemedicine is actually a quite common practice of using new videoconferencing technology to reduce the cost and hassle of consultations with specialists or between physicians. It does not replace the necessity of an actual, live physician for the actual practice of medicine, but reduces the barriers to communication.

Telemed abortions, however, are quite another thing altogether. Operation Rescue reports:

A telemed abortion is abortion via a teleconferencing service similar to “Skype.” Patients are put in a room where an off-site abortionist appears on a computer monitor and explains the medical abortion procedure to them over an Internet hook-up. After the brief teleconference, the dangerous abortion drug RU486, also known as Mifepristone, and its counterpart, Methotrexate, are prescribed. The drugs are then administered to the patient by a nurse or “clinician” who may or may not be licensed. The patient presses a button an on computer screen that opens a box containing the abortion drugs. The patient is never physically examined by the medical doctor prescribing the drugs – or any other, for that matter – and never sees the abortionist again.

This practice is negligent and dangerous. Inducing a medical abortion is not the equivalent of taking an aspirin. The process takes several days, can be incredibly painful, and involves heavy bleeding and cramping for up to a month. Mifepristone also contains the risk of serious side-effects, including a failed abortion, infection, and in some cases, death. To go through such a procedure without legitimate access to a medical puts women at enormous risk.

And did we mention, the practice may also be illegal. Iowa state laws stipulate that only a physician may administer an abortion. In a telemed abortion, the patient is never examined by a physician and the medication is administered solely by a non-licensed technician at the clinic. In no way does this meet the requirement of physician administration.

This is all of little concern to the Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa, who are charging insurance companies 2.5 times the regular price for these medical abortions without having to pay the costly fee of an onsite physician. Who cares about the safety of women with a cost-savings like that.

For a more in-depth review of the issue, read the complete report from Operation Rescue here.

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