Iowa Supreme Court Blocks Rule Banning Dangerous Webcam Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 16, 2014   |   6:06PM   |   Des Moines, IA

The Iowa Supreme Court issued a decision today putting a stay in place and preventing the state from enforcing a ban on dangerous webcam abortions while a lawsuit against the pro-life law continues.

In August, a judge upheld a pro-life Iowa rule that banned the dangerous practice of telemed abortions. A telemedicine abortion is when a woman is prescribed medication that induces an abortion without seeing a doctor in person.

ru48614The rule would require that women seeking an abortion be in the presence of a physician when receiving the pills. It also outlines disciplinary procedures to be taken should a physician violate the terms of the bill, which can include the revocation of a doctor’s license.

The rule was necessary because the Planned Parenthood abortion business was putting women’s lives and health at risk by denying them an opportunity to visit with a physician in-person, as recommended by the FDA. The abortion drug has killed over a dozen women world wide and inured thousands more.

Polk County District Judge Jeffrey Farrell ruled that the Iowa Board of Medicine was acting within its proper authority when it banned the use of Planned Parenthood’s experimental “Webcam” abortion pill distribution process. This ruling will allow the implementation and enforcement of the webcam abortion ban in 30 days.

Abortion backers appealed the ruling and the state Supreme Court put the rule on hold while the case continues.

After the judge’s decision, pro-life advocates hailed the ruling.

“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.

“Operation Rescue has worked with other state and national pro-life groups since 2010 to bring an end to this dangerous abortion pill distribution racket that puts Planned Parenthood profits above the lives and health of women,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Today represents a long awaited victory for women and their babies.”

“In recent months, Planned Parenthood has voluntarily shut down webcam abortions in ten facilities. Nine offices still employ the now-banned pill distribution process,” he said. “Since Planned Parenthood’s plans became public, 14 states have passed restrictions that require a licensed physician be present when abortion pills are dispensed, effectively banning the process of webcam abortion process. The planned national expansion of the webcam system has since been scuttled in the wake of the new state laws.”

Newman told that webcam abortions enable an abortionist to remotely dispense abortion pills to patients in other cities without leaving a central office. The abortionist visits briefly for a short time with a patient via an internet video conferencing system then clicks a button on his computer that remotely opens a drawer in front of the patient containing the abortion pills.

The Board found that the lack of a physical examination by the dispensing abortionist fell well below patient care standards.

On August 30, the Iowa Board of Medicine voted 8-2 in favor of new rules requiring that abortionists prescribing the abortion pill conduct a physical examination of the woman, be physically present when the drug is provided, and schedule a follow up to confirm completion of the abortion and evaluate the woman’s medical condition.

Polls found 66 percent of Iowa residents supported the ban.

Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, who sponsored the bill, said if women don’t have immediate access to an abortion-inducing drug, he hopes more might consider carrying a pregnancy to term.

“If that mother is now unable to go and get a webcam abortion, maybe it’ll give her a little bit more time to think about it,” Windschitl said. “That would be my hope.”

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.

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.