Noting that the board, in a rule that went into effect this month, “generally approves the use of telemedicine,” the court wrote: “The board appears to hold abortion to a different medical standard than the other procedures.” Mark Bowden, executive director of the board, said he appeared to have no legal options left. Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, said the group was “devastated” by the decision.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said she hopes the decision will resonate nationally.
“This decision sends a loud and clear message to politicians across the country,” she said. “Abortion restrictions and bans are unconstitutional and deeply unpopular, and we will continue to fight them in every state.”
In medical abortions, women first take mifepristone, the drug that doctors in Iowa deliver by video, followed one to four days later by a second drug, misoprostol. They return to the clinic within two weeks of taking the second medication for a follow-up appointment. Women are only eligible for the drugs if they are nine weeks pregnant or less.
Before meeting with a doctor via video, patients meet with nurses and other clinicians — none of whom are doctors — who perform ultrasounds, take medical histories, do blood tests, and tell them what to expect. expect. The doctor reviews the ultrasound, lab results and medical history, and ensures that any questions the patient has are answered before dispensing the medication, said Planned Parenthood of the Heartland spokesperson Angie Remington. which operates clinics in Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma. .
Suzanna de Baca, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said the organization has no immediate plans to increase the number of clinics in Iowa that offer the procedure. But she added: “It certainly gives us room to grow where needed, and we will be monitoring that constantly.”