The Iowa Board of Medicine decided in an 8-2 vote on Friday to ban webcam abortions in the state. The ruling came two days after a long, and somewhat heated public hearing before the board. Barring legal challenges, the ruling will go into effect in November.
Planned Parenthood began conducting the webcam abortions in Iowa in 2008. A group of 14 Iowa medical professionals petitioned the board in June to examine webcam, or tele-med, abortions. These are conducted long distance, with a doctor not examining the patient in-person, but giving the pregnant woman a pill that induces a miscarriage. Women then return home as the slow and painful process ensues.
Medical professionals are concerned that the practice is unsafe, and Planned Parenthood’s representatives did little to allay those concerns during Wednesday’s hearing. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Chairman Robert Shaw refused to answer basic questions regarding patient care.
“Iowa Right to Life first sounded the alarm about this method of abortion in 2008,” said IRTL Executive Director Jenifer Bowen. “Since 2010, over 27,300 Iowans have signed our petitions requesting the State end the practice of webcam abortion. It is abundantly clear Iowans stand behind the physicians requesting this rule and the Board of Medicine’s decision to adopt it. We commend them for acting today to raise the standard of care and protect countless women from this method of abortion.”
Iowa is believed to be the first state to conduct webcam abortions. Iowa Right to Life’s attempts to have the practice banned via the Iowa Legislature were thwarted. Friday’s ruling by the Board of Medicine is a huge victory for Iowa Right to Life. Planned Parenthood will almost certainly attempt to overturn the ban by taking the issue to court.
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