In moves we've seen elsewhere in the Midwest and around the United States, an Iowa judge ruled last Tuesday that regulators were within their authority when they voted to ban a HIPPA-secure videoconferencing system that allows urban doctors to provide medication abortion to women in rural clinics.
The ban, imposed by the Iowa Board of Medicine after it was stacked with appointees who oppose abortion, will end access to safe and legal abortion in all areas of the state outside Des Moines and Iowa City. As a result, some women will have to drive more than 500 miles round-trip, multiple times, to access care. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland intends to file an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
"The court's ruling is incredibly disappointing, but our fight for Iowa women continues. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will continue to provide the full range of reproductive health services at our health centers, while this dangerous rule remains blocked by the courts," said Penny Dickey, COO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. "While the Board of Medicine claims it is acting to protect women's safety and health, its true purpose is to prevent women from receiving an abortion if and when they need one. And the rule would actually jeopardize women's health by delaying their care. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will continue to fight for evidence-based medicine and a woman's right to make her personal health care decisions."
Health care providers across the country use telemedicine to provide patients, especially those in rural areas, the best quality health care. The process for a medication abortion delivered through telemedicine is just as safe and effective as the process of an in-person meeting with a doctor. We wish Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and other reproductive freedom advocates in Iowa the best of luck as they continue their fight for women's health.
HOLLY HARRISON, WEB EDITOR AND SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR