Iowa Webcam Abortion Ban Means Planned Parenthood Can’t Put Women in Danger

State   |   William Saunders and Mary Novick   |   Sep 5, 2013   |   6:32PM   |   Des Moines, IA

The Iowa Board of Medicine scored a victory for women’s health in the state last week, in an overwhelming 8-2 vote against the reckless prescription of abortion-inducing drugs. This potentially life-saving action came at urging of Iowa physicians who also deserve praise for their leadership in putting patient needs over profits.

The Board of Medicine was responding to “telemed abortions” as practiced by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Iowa, a practice the abortion industry wishes to export to other states. Life-ending drugs represent an emerging market for the abortion industry, looking to expand its profits. In a Telemed abortion, a remotely located physician gives instructions to a woman about how to use abortion-inducing drugs—principally RU-486—over a teleconferencing system like Skype. Without meeting with the woman in person, the physician presses a button and a drawer, containing the drug, opens in the room where the woman is located and she takes the abortion-inducing drug.

The physician never physically examines the woman, making misdiagnosis a danger as the physician may overlook the gestational age of the unborn child or fail to identify an ectopic pregnancy. The misdiagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening to the pregnant woman – if the ectopic pregnancy ruptures, she may bleed to death.

Most importantly, the physician is not present to intervene surgically in the case of an incomplete abortion, heavy bleeding, or other complications that are common in the use of abortion-inducing drugs. This dangerous practice puts women at risk—but it is a big money maker for the abortion industry.

In order to protect women’s health, the Iowa Board of Medicine voted to approve a rule which requires a physician to physically examine the woman before a chemical abortion, and indicate in her medical records the gestational age of the unborn child and the location of the pregnancy. The rule requires that the physician be present when the drugs are administered and that they schedule a follow-up appointment. If a provider violates these rules, the Board of Medicine can take away his or her medical license or impose other sanctions.

The standard of care set by the Iowa Board of Medicine is in line with the FDA protocol for RU-486. Which states,

“Mifeprex may be administered only in a clinic, medical office, or hospital, by or under the supervision of a physician, able to assess the gestational age of an embryo and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies. Physicians must also be able to provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, or have made plans to provide such care through others, and be able to assure patient access to medical facilities equipped to provide blood transfusions and resuscitation, if necessary.”

Upholding the FDA protocol is a huge victory for women’s health in Iowa. Planned Parenthood will not be allowed to risk woman’s lives by recklessly giving them abortion-drugs without a physical exam from a physician, and women will receive the follow up care that is essential to their health and wellbeing and may save their lives. The Iowa Board of Medicine deserves applause for protecting women.