Iowa court upholds ban on ‘webcam’ abortions

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton regarding an Iowa court’s ruling Tuesday that upheld an Iowa Board of Medicine ban on “webcam” abortions:

“Planned Parenthood and other abortionists should be accountable to basic medical standards. At the very least, that includes a licensed professional meeting personally with women who are considering such a serious and potentially life-altering decision. For that reason, the court was right to uphold the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rule, which places the health and safety of mothers ahead of the profits Planned Parenthood obtains through ‘webcam’ abortions. The fact that Planned Parenthood went to court to ensure they could continue to profit from these kinds of abortions is a great indication of where its priorities lie.”

Excerpts from the Iowa District Court for Polk County’s decision in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Iowa Board of Medicine:

p. 13: “There is no question that the board has the power to establish standards of practice for the medical profession…. Additionally, the legislature singled out physicians as the only professionals to be able to perform an abortion.”

Page 21: “[A] physical exam is the norm for the treatment of any type of medical illness or condition, in that a patient must typically see a doctor before getting a prescription to treat conditions as routine as ear infections.”

Page 22-23: “The crux of the board’s decision to adopt the rule is that an in-person physical examination should be done before prescribing abortion-inducing drugs. There are legitimate reasons to support the board’s decision…. Also, the board found that a basic physical exam is needed in all cases to exclude risk factors, and a pelvic exam may be needed in some cases to corroborate ultrasound findings and properly determine gestational age.”

Page 23: “The record shows that sixteen states have taken action to require a physician to be physically present before prescribing an abortion inducing drug.”

Page 33-34: “[T]he cost and distance argument is not as dire as portrayed by PPH.”

Page 34: “[T]he board is authorized to adopt a standard of practice, and it did so in this instance on rational grounds. The rule does not prevent PPH or any other abortion provider from offering medical abortions, but simply requires an in-person physician examination as the center of its standard of practice.”

  • 2013 letter from ADF and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists to Iowa Board of Medicine in support of ban on “webcam” abortions
  • Resource page: Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (ADF lawsuit filed on behalf of a former director of an Iowa Planned Parenthood facility that performed “webcam” abortions)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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