Dangerous Decree: Iowa Supreme Court Rules Webcam Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

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By Cheryl Sullenger

Des Moines, IA — Today, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down Iowa Administrative Regulations that banned the webcam abortion pill distribution scheme that has been used by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland since 2008.

The Court found that requiring an in-person physical examination prior to dispensing two abortion-inducing drugs posed an “undue burden” on Iowa women, who would be required to travel farther to get an abortion under the regulations.

The Court also ruled for the first time that a woman’s “right” to an abortion exists in the Iowa Constitution.

“The Iowa Supreme Court has chosen to protect the profits of abortionists over the lives of women and their babies,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “It is an unconscionable decision that also undermines the authority of the Iowa Board of Medicine to enact safety regulations when it comes to abortion, setting a dangerous precedent that is guaranteed to result in lost lives.”

While Planned Parenthood claims there have been no reported complications from webcam abortions, there is no reporting mechanism in place. Medication abortions carry a failure rate of 45-79 per 1000 women, according to the FDA.

“In the 7,000 webcam abortions Planned Parenthood claims to have done since 2008, we should reasonably expect between 300 and 550 complications according to the FDA statistics,” said Newman. “Planned Parenthood’s claims that there have been no reported complications have no credibility whatsoever. This is really a case of ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’ for the purpose of financial gain. We must continue to fight to protect women and children from this dangerous scheme.”

Operation Rescue first drew national attention to Iowa’s experimental webcam abortion scheme in 2010 when it released an exposé and filed a complaint with the Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) objecting to the remote abortion pill distribution system.

Operation Rescue then exposed plans by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to expand the scheme into every one of their clinics nationwide.

Since then, 19 states have enacted bans on webcam abortions.

In 2013, the Iowa Board of Medicine issued administrative regulations that required physicians to perform in-person physical examinations on women before prescribing the abortion pills. This essentially banned the webcam abortion practice in Iowa.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland sued and lost in a 2014 state court decision that cited “legitimate reasons” to require physicians to perform physical examinations in person. Planned Parenthood appealed that decision to the Iowa Supreme Court, which issued its ruling today overturning the lower court’s decision.

View the Iowa Supreme Court Decision in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Iowa Board of Medicine.

  • a7xrocker1981

    Not shocked about this ruling because the state solicitor who argued this was pretty cozy with former pp president Jill June.
    At least we can hope the clinics just close down on their own, which it seems most are doing.