Aug 152013

By Anne Marie Amacher and the ICC

The Iowa Board of Medicine is considering a rule to establish a standard of practice for physicians who perform chemical/medical abortions. The proposed rule would require a physician to be physically present while abortion drugs are being provided. Chemical abortions initiated over a videoconference (so-called webcam abortions) would fail to meet a minimum standard of care. The rule would not interfere with other practices of telemedicine or make chemical abortions illegal.
A webcam abortion involves a physician dispensing abortion-inducing drugs via remote control to a female patient at another location. The patient, who does not see the doctor in person, receives the drug from a remote-controlled, locked drawer.
Tom Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC), said the Administrative Rules Review Committee of the Iowa Legislature met Aug. 6 in Des Moines regarding webcam abortions. Individuals on both sides of the issue shared their thoughts. A motion was made to delay the webcam hearings, but failed because of a tie vote.
A public hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 28 at the Wallace state offices building in Des Moines at 1 p.m. Physicians will be present to explain why webcam abortions should be stopped, Chapman said. A vote by the board is expected later this fall, he added.
“We support the Board of Medicine in approving the new chemical abortion rule and requiring an appropriate standard of care for women’s health. Interestingly, by 56 to 27 percent, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that Americans would support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than 24 weeks. In Iowa, abortion is legal throughout pregnancy. Our state law doesn’t match up with what Iowans support.”

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