Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has filed a request for judicial review of the decision of the Iowa Board of Medicine to adopt a rule that prevents Planned Parenthood from prescribing medical abortions via a video-conferencing system.
Planned Parenthood attorney, Sharon Malheira, says they are asking the court to review three issues regarding the decision on the rule. “We’re saying that their action is inconsistent with the agency’s prior practice or precedent without credible reasons sufficient to indicate a fair and rational basis for the inconsistency. And by that we mean, in 2010 this process was reviewed by the Board of Medicine — very thoroughly I might add — and they felt there was no reason to have any restrictions on the rule,” Malheira says.
She says a second point alleges the decision was political. “We are also claiming that the actions of the board were motivated by an improper purpose,” Malheira says. “And that is that they were being guided more by ideology and philosophy as opposed to fact-based medicine.”
And the final point she argues involved the constitutionality of the tele-med abortion ban. “Actions of the board are violating Planned Parenthood and their patient’s constitutional rights under Article one of the Iowa Constitution for liberty, equality and due process. And then finally, that the actions violate the equal protection and due process clause of the United States Constitution,” Malheira says.
The procedure has a doctor dispense abortion pills to the patient via a video link. The request for review also includes a request that the court prevent the rule banning the procedure from being carried out until the court decides if the Board of Medicine’s action was proper. “Our argument is that it would be more appropriate to stay the implementation of the rule because Planned Parenthood has been performing these medical services for the last five years and there is not evidence that there is anything improper, or that there is any harm to the patients,” Malheira explains.
The board voted 8-2 for the ban on August 30th, with the majority of the board’s members arguing the best standard of care for women seeking an abortion is to have a doctor do a physical exam and talk face-to-face with the patient. Malheira says she expects a decision on the stay of the rule sometime next week. She says if they are not granted a stay of the rule, she would likely seek an expedited case.
Malheira says as long as the rule is in place they have clients who will not be served.