On Tuesday the Iowa Board of Medicine proposed rules to ban the procedure known as ‘telemedicine abortion’, a medical practice that Planned Parenthood of the Heartlands has had in place since 2008. The Board’s decision was split 4 to 4, effectively allowing the motion to proceed.
Proponents of the telemedicine system state that it has been of great success: out of over 3,000 telemedicine abortions done since 2008 not a single complaint has been recorded. Telemedicine also provides abortion access to women in rural areas during their first trimester who may not have access to abortion facilities. Those who oppose the procedure state that doctors need to be present in case any side effects such as excessive bleeding were to occur.
The last time this policy of practice was reviewed by the Iowa Board of Medicine was in 2010, when the procedure was deemed safe and effective. Since that time the governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, has replaced all 10 members of the Board, even going as far to appoint a Catholic priest. Dr. Robert Shaw, chairman of Planned Parenthood of the Heartlands spoke on the board’s decision, claiming it “a terrifying example of politics dictating health care.” A public hearing regarding Iowa’s telemedicine abortion system will be held on August the 28th.
Media Resources: DeMoines Register 8/7/13; Think Progress 8/7/13; Radio Iowa 8/6/13