Iowa Bans 'Telemed' Abortions

In another victory for life, the Iowa Board of Medicine voted today to ban so-called telemed abortions. Those are medical abortion procedures prescribed remotely often by the use of Internet teleconferencing software.

Daniel James Devine of World magazine has the story. Here's an excerpt (emphasis mine):


The Iowa Board of Medicine voted 8-2 on Friday to ban Planned Parenthood’s practice of providing medical abortions in the state by webcam. The vote is a victory for pro-life advocates, who have long warned that so-called telemed abortions are unsafe for women.

“I am just standing in awe!” wrote Sue Thayer, who had testified in favor of the ban, in an email to pro-life supporters on Friday. “God is just so good, so big and so in control!”

Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood employee, was fired several years ago after she resisted offering telemed abortions at the rural facility she managed in Storm Lake, Iowa. She has since become a pro-life activist.

WORLD reported about Iowa’s telemed abortion scheme in January. As a way of reducing travel expenses, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland devised a way to provide prescriptions of the RU-486 abortion pill regimen to pregnant women at its rural Iowa facilities: An abortionist in Des Moines could simply log into a video conference system connected to a rural Planned Parenthood center, ask the woman a few questions, then press a button to remotely unlock a drawer containing the set of abortion pills. Women were expected to take the first drug at the rural facility, and then take a second drug to complete their abortions at home, alone. More than 3,000 women in Iowa have undergone abortions in this way.

“How can any of us possibly find that a medical abortion performed over the internet is as safe as one provided by a physician in person?” said Iowa Board of Medicine chairman Greg Hoversten at the hearing last week, according The Des Moines Register. “The woman essentially goes home and labors and delivers a fetus. … It’s very bloody. It’s painful. There’s cramping, pelvic cramping.”

At the close of his article, Devine quoted a pro-life activist who notes that with Iowa's decision, only one state in the Union now permits "telemed" abortion prescribing: Minnesota.

You don't have to be pro-life to think it's a bad idea for a woman to be prescribed an abortion pill by a doctor who is not able to examine her in person. We'll keep our eyes open to see if the media chime in on this.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters