Iowa Board of Medicine Creates Committee, May Study Telemed Abortion Process

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Iowa Board of Medicine Creates Committee, May Study Telemed Abortion Process

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 26
, 2010

Des Moines, IA ( — The Iowa Board of Medicine, after hearing from pro-life advocates on Friday presenting concerns about the telemed abortion process, have appointed a committee to study the use of telemedicine in the state. The committee will not specifically examine the potential problems at the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Instead, the panel will have a broad focus that may or may not include the concerns pro-life groups presented.

The Des Moines Register indicates the committee will consist of three BOM members, Ames businesswoman Ambreen Mian, Muscatine obstetrician Colleen Stockdale and Ottumwa psychiatrist Joyce Vista Wayne.

A former member of the board, Dr. Carole Frier of Des Moines, will join them.

A press statement from the board said the committee would act separately from any complaints or investigations the board is currently reviewing, including the one from Operation Rescue highlighting concerns about Planned Parenthood using the telemedicine process to give women the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug.

The organization contends Planned Parenthood is breaking the law because Iowa state law requires abortions to be done by physicians and a doctor is not physically present with the woman at the time she get the abortion drug. Instead, a potentially untrained or unlicensed staffer sits with the woman as she visits with the abortion practitioner, who may be out of state at the time, during a videoconfernce.

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman emailed with a response to the news of the new committee.

"We are glad that telemedicine will be studied and hope that the committee will especially focus on the misuse of telemedicine by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which distributes dangerous abortion pills through a remote controlled push button system that denies the patient access to examination by a licensed physician as well as any meaningful doctor/patient relationship," he said.

"However, due to the way nearly 30 citizens were treated at the last Board meeting, we have concerns that the Board may not give our concerns for the health and safety of women fair consideration," Newman added.

Newman said he was unhappy with the way in which board members limited the testimony of pro-life advocates at Friday’s meeting.

He said "the Board, without notice, limited access to the meeting to only six people, then limited the total length of comments on telemedicine to only 10 minutes."

"The rest of the citizens, some who drove several hours to be heard, were forced by the Board to stand outside in the rain. There were health care professionals, attorneys, clergy, and leaders of a number of different groups that represented the concerns of thousands of Iowans that simply were not heard, or were limited in some cases to mere seconds of comment," he added. "Despite whatever the Board may say, that act clearly communicated to us that the Board is completely uninterested in hearing our concerns."

Newman also says he has received documentation regarding the relationship between certain IBM staff members and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

This "further erodes our confidence that the Board is capable of sound judgment regarding any issue related to Planned Parenthood."

That may be why Jill June, president of the Planned Parenthood chapter, welcomed the new committee the Board of Medicine created.

“We’re at a time when the delivery of medicine is really changing,” she said. “I think it’s a very good thing the Board of Medicine is moving forward.”

June told the Register that no members of the board have come to the abortion business to investigate the telemed abortion system, but said they are welcome to do so.


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