Iowa’s governor does not plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Iowa Supreme Court ruling on so-called “telemed” abortions.
“I was very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision, siding with Planned Parenthood,” Branstad says. “But unfortunately it does not look like something that is likely to be overturned on appeal.”
The Iowa Supreme Court in July rejected an Iowa Board of Medicine rule requiring doctors to see abortion patients in person when prescribing medication to terminate a pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has been using remote video technology to prescribe abortion-inducing prescriptions to patients. The unanimous decision by six Iowa Supreme Court justices said forbidding the use of tele-medicine in such cases placed an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions because women in rural areas must drive hundreds of miles to reach one of the three Planned Parenthood clinics where they could see a doctor in person.
The Iowa Board of Medicine has decided not to appeal the ruling. Governor Branstad is the only other person who would have standing to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. “The chance of getting the Supreme Court to take it up is very unlikely,” Branstad says. “And even if they did, they could send it back to the Iowa Supreme Court.”
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland began offering telemedicine abortions in 2008 and the Iowa Board of Medicine’s restriction never went into effect because the rule was being challenged in court.