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ADF brief submitted to Iowa Supreme Court supports ban on medication abortions performed without in-person doctor consultation

Related Case: Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Iowa Board of Medicine

Attorney sound bites:  Michael J. Norton  |  Natalie Decker

DES MOINES, Iowa – Alliance Defending Freedom submitted a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday to the Iowa Supreme Court on behalf of pro-life advocates in support of an Iowa Board of Medicine ban on “webcam” abortions.

 

After a trial court upheld the ban on the practice, in which women are provided with abortion-inducing drugs without any in-person examination by a licensed physician, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland appealed the decision to Iowa’s high court. Sixteen other states have enacted similar bans.

“Planned Parenthood and other abortionists must be held to basic medical standards of care, and little is more basic than an in-person examination by a physician before a procedure that poses serious health risks,” said ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “The court was right to uphold the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rule, which requires a licensed professional to personally meet with women who want to undergo this potentially life-threatening procedure. The health and safety of mothers is more important that the profits Planned Parenthood obtains through its ‘webcam’ abortion scheme.”

ADF submitted the brief in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Iowa Board of Medicine on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Donna J. Harrison, M.D.; Iowa Right to Life; and Susan Thayer, a former director of an Iowa Planned Parenthood facility who resigned her position rather than perform “webcam” abortions. ADF attorneys also represent Thayer in a separate lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of the Heartland that accuses the abortion giant of massive healthcare fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.

“Contrary to Planned Parenthood’s claims, medication abortions involve substantial health and safety risks to women – even greater risks than do surgical abortions. It is necessary and appropriate that the Board of Medicine regulate these risks and establish a minimum standard of care,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Natalie Decker.

“The largest and most accurate study of medication abortions was published in 2009. It consists of a review of medical records from 22,368 women who underwent medication abortions…compared with 20,251 women who underwent surgical abortions,” the ADF brief explains. “This study concluded that the ‘overall incidence of adverse events was fourfold higher’ in medication abortions than in surgical abortions. These higher frequency ‘adverse events,’ or risks, included hemorrhaging, incomplete abortions, surgical re-evacuation, and injuries requiring post-abortion operative treatment.”

“No matter where people stand on abortion, everyone should agree that Planned Parenthood should not get a pass on abiding by established medical protocols,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Planned Parenthood’s main concern should be the health and safety of women, not its bottom line. We hope the Iowa Supreme Court will uphold the trial court’s decision.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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