Iowa Supreme Court to hear challenge to law banning webcam abortions

By Dave Andrusko

(Photo: Christopher Gannon/The Des Moines Register

(Photo: Christopher Gannon/The Des Moines Register

If there is a “face” of webcam abortions, clearly it is the massive Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (home headquarters, Des Moines, Iowa). More than 6,800 women have had abortions using the system since PPH began webcam abortions in 2008. When a woman has a webcam abortion, she never sees the abortionist in person, a condition the Iowa Board of Medicine found unacceptable.

In its September 2013 decision, the Board of Medicine required abortionists to see the women in person and perform physical examinations before dispensing abortifacients. Women were also required to do in-person follow-up visits.

That decision was upheld last August by a district judge, and PPH appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court. Yesterday the Des Moines Register reported that the court will hear the case next month.

Oral arguments are set for March 11, according to the Register’s Tony Leys.

However the system is still operational, because last September the Iowa Supreme Court put a stay on Polk County District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell’s decision.

Webcam abortions are an integral part of the long-term strategy of the Abortion Industry. As NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon explained to NRL News Today, web-cam abortions are built around a system which makes it possible for the abortionist and the pregnant woman never to be in the same room.

It is designed to expand the number of abortions by reaching “underserved” populations, particularly in rural areas. Here’s how webcam abortions works.

An abortionist back at a hub clinic teleconferences with a patient at one of the smaller satellite offices, reviews her case, and asks a couple of questions. If satisfied, he clicks a mouse, remotely unlocking a drawer at her location. In that drawer are the abortion pills which make up the two-drug abortion technique (RU-486 and a prostaglandin). She takes the RU-486 there and takes the rest of the pills home to administer to herself later.

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.” Not so, said the Board of Medicine in papers filed with Judge Farrell.

Lawyers for the Board noted that only physicians may provide abortions under Iowa law. “The board said providing abortion pills falls under that requirement,” Leys reported last year.

“Abortion-inducing drugs are not over the counter medications,” the state lawyers wrote. “Unless and until such a time when abortion-inducing drugs are no longer required to be dispensed by physicians, physicians must do so within the confines of the standard of care. The Board of Medicine determined the standard of care requires a physical examination prior to dispensing abortion-inducing drugs.”

The case is potentially hugely important for the Abortion Industry. Using a video-conferencing system (which PPH likes to call “telemedicine”), 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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