Iowa Board of Health Bans Telemedicine Abortions
The Iowa Board of Health voted to ban the nation's largest telemedicine abortion program last Friday, effectively limiting reproductive health access to thousands of rural women. The decision follows a decision in 2010 by Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad in which he replaced all 10 members of the nonpartisan medical Board of Health with anti-choice advocates.
Iowa's telemedicine abortion program allows women to consult with doctors through video technology before being prescribed the abortion-inducing pill and has been heralded as a safe and effective form of reproductive health care since its implementation five years ago.
According to Planned Parenthood, staff members at 15 remote clinics perform standard tests on the patients. A doctor reviews those records before meeting with the woman over the videoconferencing system. If the doctor deems she is a valid candidate the medicine, she is given it at the clinic. Patients report being just as satisfied after speaking with the doctor via video feed as they are in-person.
Since 2008, Iowa's telemedicine program has helped an estimated 3,000 rural women obtain safe and legal abortions.
Media Resources: CBN 9/3/2013; ThinkProgress 9/3/2013, 8/29/2013