(Des Moines, IA) Polk County District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell in a decision released this morning ruled in favor of the Iowa Board of Medicine’s decision to ban webcam abortions. Webcam abortions were a procedure that expanded the ability of Planned Parenthood to conduct medical abortion in rural settings by allowing women to consult with a doctor by webcam. The doctor, based in Des Moines, would then trigger a drawer to open up to provide the client with an abortion-inducing drugs. Iowa was the first state to allow the practice, and critics state that it puts women at risk.
The Iowa Board of Medicine last August voted 8-2 to establish a new rule that effectively ended the practice. In a released statement from the Board said, “The goal of the new rule is to protect the health and safety of Iowans. The Board believes that all patients,including those in rural Iowa, deserve the highest level of care. The Board believes that a physician must establish an appropriate physician-patient relationship prior to the provision of a medical abortion. The physician’s in-person medical interview and physical examination of the patient are essential to establishing that relationship.”
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland had filed a lawsuit and won a stay on the ruling pending judicial review. During that time several Planned Parenthood clinics have stopped offering the services.
Farrell wrote, “There is no question that the board has the power to establish standards of practice for the medical profession. Those standards include the authority to adopt and enforce standards regarding the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice.”
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland plans to appeal the ruling which will take effect in 30 days.
“Iowa Right to Life first sounded the alarm on webcam abortion in 2008. Over the last six years, we have worked tirelessly to educate Iowans about this dangerous practice that risks the health of women all over Iowa. We welcome today’s ruling by Judge Farrell in which he rules in favor of the Iowa Board of Medicine’s decision to ban the dangerous practice of webcam abortion in the State of Iowa,” stated Jenifer Bowen, Executive Director of Iowa Right to Life. “While the plaintiffs have vowed to appeal this common-sense decision, we know having reviewed the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rationale behind the rule at question in the case and after hearing from women who have suffered complications and negative effects of the procedure, a ban on the practice was the only logical outcome in this case.”
“A special thank you to the Iowa Board of Medicine who voted a year ago to end this practice and to each of the 30,0000+ Iowans that signed our petition to END webcam abortions in Iowa,” concluded Bowen.