Iowa Will Let Telemed Abortions Go Forward


Iowa women seeking an abortion who live nowhere near a provider have been getting medication abortions through a pioneering telemedicine program. That’s to the chagrin of Operation Rescue, which just lost a major battle. Alas, the war’s not over.

Since 2008, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has pioneered a program where a Des Moines doctor can consult with a patient at a remote clinic and then push a button that opens a drawer with the first dosage of the medication. The second dosage is taken at home. Two thousand women have been served this way at 16 clinics. (Telemedicine is often used for remote areas in areas outside of abortion care.) After two weeks, the patient returns to the clinic to be examined by a nurse for complications.

Operation Rescue claimed this violated a law that abortions had to be performed by a doctor, and was referred to the Iowa Board of Medicine, which found no violation.

The anti-choice group has also gone after the state’s attorney general on the telemed issue, filing an ethics complaint against him for… being photographed with the head of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland? Wanting to leave medical decisions to the medical board? It’s all very shocking.

Their spokeswoman told The Des Moines Register that they were considering appeal and that this would add to a push to ban the program in the state legislature. No legislation has been introduced yet, although people on both sides expect it.

In neighboring Nebraska, which falls under the same Planned Parenthood organizational jurisdiction, State Senator Tony Fulton has said he will introduce legislation to ban the procedure there unless a doctor is physically present. “It seems like some science fiction film that this is occurring, but it’s reality; it’s going on in Iowa right now and probably will be happening in other states soon,” he told a local news site.

Same battle, new technology. Maybe more like historical fiction?

Iowa Doctor Faces No Sanction For Remote Control Abortion System [Des Moines Register]
Telemed Not Welcome In Nebraska [OneNewsNow]
Telemed Abortions Coming To Dubuque? [Dubuque Telegraph Herald]

Image via Shutterstock.

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