Iowa court allows abortion pill dispensing over video chat

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that doctors in the state can continue dispensing abortion pills through a video teleconference with patients. The court released its unanimous opinion Friday.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland sued the Iowa Board of Medicine over its 2013 decision that would have required a doctor to be in the room with a patient when giving abortion-inducing pills. The board's decision was based on safety concerns and a required physical examination, but Planned Parenthood argued rule would have placed an undue burden on women.

The court agreed with Planned Parenthood's argument, and found the medical board's concerns with telemedicine appear to be "selectively limited to abortion."

"After careful consideration, we hold that rule 653—13.10(2) through 13.10(4) place an undue burden on a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy as defined by the United States Supreme Court in its federal constitutional precedents," the court said in its opinion. "Because the Board agrees the Iowa Constitution protects a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy to the same extent as the United States Constitution, we find the rule violates the Iowa Constitution."

Iowa is one of only two states offering abortion-inducing medication via teleconference.

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