By Dave Andrusko
The Des Moines Register reported this morning that Polk County District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell has ruled that the Iowa Board of Medicine was within its authority to require abortionists to be physically present when dispensing chemical abortifacients to pregnant women.
That decision, rendered last September, was challenged by one of Planned Parenthood’s largest affiliates, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. In its lawsuit PPH contended, “The rule was promulgated solely for the purpose of preventing access to early abortion, and for no legitimate purpose relating to the health and well-being of Iowa women.”
As National Right to Life News Today has reported, the case is potentially hugely important for the Abortion Industry. Using a video-conferencing system (known as web-cam abortions), a single abortionist could “supervise” many, many times the number of women he could actually abort, were he to be required to be in her presence. The added revenue is staggering.
Responding to public concerns expressed in an Iowa Right to Life petition signed by 20,000 Iowans, and a formal petition presented by 14 Iowa medical professionals challenging the safety of web-cam abortions, the Iowa Board of Medicine met June 28, 2013, to consider new rules to govern the practice. The August 28 meeting, which lasted 3 ½ hours, was to give the public the opportunity to comment on the proposed new rules. The new rules were adopted a few days later on an 8-2 vote.
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The requirement has been on hold while PPH appealed the Board’s decision.
However Judge Farrell ruled in favor of the board in an opinion released Tuesday morning, according to the Register’s Tony Leys.
“There is no question that the board has the power to establish standards of practice for the medical profession,” Judge Farrell wrote. “Those standards include the authority to adopt and enforce standards regarding the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice.”
According to Leys, Judge Farrell wrote “that the board met legal requirements for making new rules, including holding public hearings and accepting written comments on the matter.”
“The judge wrote that the board cited ‘legitimate reasons’ to require physicians to perform an in-person physical examination before prescribing the abortion pills. He also wrote that if the procedure is no longer offered at satellite clinics, rural Iowa women would have to travel farther to obtain abortions, but he said this would not cause ‘undue hardship.’”
Judge Farrell’s ruling does not take effect for 30 days. Needless to add, a spokeswoman for PPH said they would appeal.
PPH will likely latch onto another portion of Judge Farrell’s ruling, quoted by Leys.
“He wrote that some of the board’s moves ‘invited scrutiny,’ however. ‘The board acted on the petition for rulemaking only three days after it was received, and in contravention of advice from its in-house counsel and attorney general representative.’ He also noted that the board declined requests from the state’s main doctors’ associations to take additional time to consider the matter.”
Supporters of web-cam abortions avoid that name like the plague, preferring to describe it as a subset of telemedicine. Telemedicine can be traced all the way back to the days of the space program as a way to treat astronauts far from any doctor’s office. Used properly it offers a real benefit to those needing immediate emergency medical care who can’t get to the hospital right away or to people whose chronic conditions can be treated remotely.
If you have no objections to using telemedicine for legitimate medicine, you ought not to be bothered by having it employed to kill the unborn—or so the illogical argument goes.
However as NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon explained in great detail (see “Iowa Board of Medicine considering new rules governing web-cam abortions”), there are serious questions about the safety of web-cam abortions.
An April 30, 2011, FDA “Mifepristone U.S. Postmarketing Adverse Events Summary” found more than 2,200 “adverse events” associated with use of the abortion drugs, including 14 women in the U.S. who died. Women taking the drug were hospitalized with ruptured ectopic pregnancies, blood loss requiring transfusions, and infections that proved deadly in at least seven cases. This is much more serious than simply taking an aspirin suggested by a nurse over the phone.
“Given what we know about the all too real dangers of chemical abortions for both their intended and unintended victims, no one should be doing them, but least of all, some video doctor from hundreds of miles away who has never physically examined his patient and won’t be anywhere near if something goes wrong,” Dr. O’Bannon told NRL News Today