The Iowa Supreme Court has struck down the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rule that essentially prohibited telemedicine (“webcam”) abortions. In 2013 the board had approved a rule that required a physician to be physically present when abortion drugs are being provided, rather than pushing a button following a remote video consultation. A district court upheld the rule, but Planned Parenthood appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

The Court decided the Board of Medicine’s rule was invalid because it unduly burdened a woman’s right to an abortion. The Court didn’t reach the question whether the Iowa Constitution has a broader right to an abortion than the federal Constitution.

We are disappointed because we believe the Board of Medicine had a right to establish a minimum standard of care for such a serious procedure. These abortions are not like any other form of telemedicine. The drugs provided have serious effects on the woman’s body in every case, including the loss of a life.

In other news, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 1553) has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. This is the bill that would stop abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Please urge your Senators to support and co-sponsor this bill through the NCHLA’s Human Life Action Center.

In a June 16 letter to Congress, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, urged Senators to support S. 1553.