DES MOINES, August 30, 2013 ( – Telemed abortions may come to an end in Iowa as early as November.

The Iowa Board of Medicine voted 8-2 on Friday to end the practice on the grounds that it did not provide an appropriate level of protection for women. 

Iowa Right to Life thanked the thousands of Iowans who sent petitions to the board, asking they put “end this grisly practice.”


The ruling comes following a fractious hearing on Wednesday, in which pro-abortion protesters flooded the proceedings and engaged in often disruptive outbursts.

“Telemed” abortions allow a woman to begin a drug-induced abortion after a brief teleconference conducted over a screen with a physician who may be located in another state, or perhaps another country.

The process induces a miscarriage, but frequent side effects include incomplete miscarriage, bleeding, and fetal deformities.

“The complications are greater for medical abortion than surgical” abortions, Jacqueline Harvey of Reproductive Research Audit told

Harvey, who critiqued a study claiming telemed abortions reduce patient harm, found they present “an 11 percent increase in the likelihood of women suffering from complications.”

“It's an increased public health risk,” Harvey said.

Ultimately, the board could not reconcile the practice with a healthy doctor-patient relationship.

“This is not about abortion,” Dr. Hamed Tewfix, a board member, told the Quad-City Times.”This is about standard of care.”

“How can any of us possibly find that a medical abortion performed over the internet is as safe as one provided by a physician in person?” asked Board Chairman Dr. Greg Hoversten, who calls himself “personally pro-life.” He proposed the rule in June.

All 10 members were appointed by Republican Governor Terry Branstad.

The Iowa Medical Society asked that the rule be delayed, stating the ban may interfere with other forms of care provided by teleconference.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has indicated it may sue to overturn the ruling.

Insiders say that Planned Parenthood has economic incentives for expanding the use of drug-induced abortions.

Sue Thayer, who managed the Planned Parenthood in Storm Lake, Iowa, said officials told her when they initiated the new process in 2008 that medical or chemical abortions had “very little overhead” and thus brought increased profits.

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The Storm Lake facility closed last February.

“This was a hard fought battle,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. “The babies win today in Iowa.”


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