Telemed access will continue in Iowa, thanks to today’s unanimous ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court. At issue was whether doctors could communicate over video to women mostly living in more rural parts of the state with less access to health clinics, and issue them abortion pills via remote dispensing.
Terry Branstad’s appointed state regulators had ruled back in 2013 that the practice should end. A district judge agreed, but the ruling was put on hold until the Iowa Supreme Court could weigh in. Many progressive organizations and women’s health groups criticized the original board’s ruling as politically motivated.
“Today’s ruling is the latest example highlighting Iowa’s proud tradition of our courts being free from politics,” said Connie Ryan Terrell in a statement, the chair of Justice Not Politics. “The court reaffirmed its role as our state’s independent arbiter of justice. Some will attack the justices and mislead the public about the court’s decision, as Iowans have witnessed in the past. However, a fair and impartial judiciary is about more than any one ruling. Iowans have learned by experience we must preserve the integrity of the courts and ensure the rights of all citizens. Iowans will always stand up for a judicial process that is free from politics, defending the courts from extremists who want to attack our justices and judges to benefit their own narrow agenda.”
“I applaud today’s decision by the Iowa Supreme Court in siding with women’s health care over the needless partisanship of Governor Branstad,” said Andy McGuire in a statement put out by the IDP. “All Iowa women, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status, should have access to treatments and services that are vital to their well-being. Today’s decision empowers women with the resources and information needed to take charge of their own health care decisions. That’s a major victory for Iowa women, their families and our state.”
Bob Vander Platt’s Family Leader organization, however, disagreed, characterizing the healthcare option access as putting “women at risk.”
“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,” reads part of the Family Leader’s statement. “Regardless of one’s position on abortion, everyone should agree that Planned Parenthood should not be allowed to jeopardize women’s lives by disregarding established medical protocols.”
Update: Even Hillary Clinton has weighed in on the Iowa Supreme Court ruling:
Welcome news: The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled to protect women's ability to access safe & legal abortion throughout the state. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 19, 2015
by Pat Rynard