Iowa Board of Medicine Bans Telemedicine Program 

September 3, 2013 — The Iowa Board of Medicine on Friday voted 8-2 to ban the use of telemedicine as part of medication abortion care, Reuters reports (Henderson, Reuters, 8/30). The new rules -- which could take effect as early as Nov. 6 -- require a doctor to be physically present when medication abortion drugs are administered to a woman (AP/Washington Post, 8/30). 

Although the board in 2010 ruled that doctors at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland could continue dispensing abortion-inducing medications via its telemedicine program, Gov. Terry Branstad (R) has since replaced all 10 board members. The new board members proposed and voted to move forward with the ban after abortion-rights opponents filed a petition asking the board to end the telemedicine program (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/7).

PPH President Jill June said the organization "will not roll over and play dead," but she did not say whether it would challenge the new rules in court.

Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, said that 16 states have enacted similar bans since 2011, although not all of them have taken effect (AP/Washington Post, 8/30).