The Iowa Board of Medicine has proposed rules that would no longer allow doctors to dispense abortion-inducing pills via a video-conferencing system. Dr. Robert Shaw is chairman of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s board of directors. Shaw says the Board of Medicine reviewed the practice in 2010 and decided it could continue, but since then Republican Governor Terry Branstad has replaced all 10 members of the board. Kelly Larsen, a nurse who works at a clinic that encourages women with unplanned pregnancies to consider options other than abortion, is among those who signed a petition asking the Board of Medicine to take the action.
Shaw counters that none of the more than three-thousand women who’ve had medication abortions prescribed via video-link have filed complaints about the procedure.
The legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee has the authority to delay the rule banning tele-med abortions, but a bid to do that failed on a tie vote. The same arguments for and against the tele-med abortion ban will be made August 28th at a public hearing in Des Moines about the rule. After that, the Board of Medicine will again review the matter at one of its meetings and the rule could go into effect sometime around October 23rd, although legal action would likely follow to delay implementation.