Iowa Legislators File Bill to Ban Dangerous Telemed Abortions

State   Madison Ruppert   Feb 4, 2014   |   5:14PM    Washington, DC

Iowa state lawmakers are fighting back against the Planned Parenthood-backed practice of “telemedicine” abortions with new legislation that would completely ban the practice.

A telemedicine abortion is when a woman is prescribed medication that induces an abortion without seeing a doctor in person.

The Iowa Board of Medicine approved rules last summer that prevented doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication unless they physically met with the person seeking an abortion.

telemedPreviously, doctors were allowed to just speak with the woman seeking the abortion over a video call.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland would not stand for the restriction and filed a lawsuit in September over the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rules in an attempt to block the rules from being enforced.

In November, a judge in Polk County decided that the rules would be temporarily suspended until the case is resolved.

A group of 19 Republicans in the Iowa House proposed a bill to ban the practice entirely.

This would prevent abortion providers like Planned Parenthood of the Heartland from using teleconferencing to prescribe abortion drugs to patients living in rural areas.

“If I could stop all abortion in this state, I would,” State Rep. Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley said, according to the Quad-City Times.

Windschitl’s bill will not likely face a great deal of opposition in the House given the pro-life sentiment among the Republicans who hold the majority.

However, Democrats hold the majority in the Iowa Senate, though only by a 26-24 margin. The Quad-City Times notes that Senator Joe Seng of Davenport, who often votes against his pro-abortion Democratic colleagues on abortion-related legislation, might upset this majority.

“I think it should be looked at in the Senate, and I would support it,” Seng said.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Jill June called Windschitl’s efforts “misguided.”

“What the polls tell is by and large the public does not want to see abortion outlawed, the public is very empathetic about those women who are being denied these services,” June said.

However, polls indicate that the number of Iowans supporting increased restrictions on abortions is rising. Furthermore a 2011 straw poll indicated that voters in Iowa care about the pro-life stance of candidates. The source for June’s polls was not cited. At the time of publication, the writer could not locate a poll with results mentioned by June.

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In Iowa, medically induced abortions were almost as numerous as surgically induced abortions in 2012, according to Iowa Department of Public Health statistics.

In 2012, 2,314 medically induced abortions were performed and 2,324 surgically induced abortions were performed in the same year.

The previous year saw 2,522 medically induced abortions in Iowa and 2,871 surgical.

The drugs prescribed by telemedicine in Iowa include Mifepristone, better known as RU-486, which has most recently been linked to the death of a British woman.

LifeNews Note: Madison Ruppert is a journalism student in Southern California and is part of an effort to establish the first Students for Life club on his campus.