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Editorial Calls on Iowa Board of Medicine To Base Rules on 'Evidence, Not Politics'

June 30, 2015 — The Iowa Board of Medicine's "ultimate goal is to help protect the health and safety of Iowans," but several board members in 2013 instead passed "an administrative rule crafted by anti-abortion activists ... to eliminate a safe, time-tested, telemedicine system connecting doctors with patients seeking" medication abortion, a Des Moines Register editorial states.

According to the editorial, the state Supreme Court "has now deemed that rule unconstitutional." As a result, women in the state, "particularly those in rural areas, will continue to have access to an FDA-approved drug that has been used around the world for decades" for medication abortion.

However, the editorial contends that the "remaining board members who voted to approve the administrative rule two years ago should resign." According to the editorial, the board in approving the rule did not aim "to protect the health of women" but instead sought "to prevent women from exercising their right to an abortion."

The editorial urges Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) to "appoint replacements who understand the professional, non-political nature of a state board." Afterward, the board "should work to restore the public's confidence by focusing only on patient safety" and "undo the damage done [by] fixating on pursuing a political agenda while contaminating a larger public discussion in [Iowa] about safely using telemedicine for other health services," the editorial states.

The editorial concludes, "Members who don't understand that" the board "should make decisions about standards of care based on evidence, not politics" should not serve on the panel (Des Moines Register, 6/27).