The 10-member Iowa Board of Medicine is scheduled to vote early this afternoon (Friday) on a rule that would forbid doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing pills via a video-conferencing system.

After the board held a public hearing on the issue Wednesday, Dr. Greg Hoversten of Sioux City — chairman of the board — spoke with reporters

“We are going to discuss it and I don’t know what we’re going to decide,” Hoversten said. “I can’t predict that right now. We have to deliberate this issue before we make a decision.”

In late June the board voted 8-2 to propose the rule to ban so-called “tele-med” abortions. Hoversten, in his conversation with reporters on Wednesday, described himself as “personally pro-life.”

“Every time we meet we remind each other that this is our premise,” Hoversten said. “I have to divest myself of my personal interests and have to, as chair of the board, decide and work with the board on deciding issues aside from my personal opinions.”

The Iowa Medical Society has asked the board to put the rule on hold rather than adopt it today. Jeanine Freeman of the Iowa Medical Society was the last person to testify at Wednesday’s public hearing.

“Our concern comes from the fact that you received a petition at your last meeting, three days before that meeting. That petition was not studied by you. The rule was not studied by you. It was written and developed by other people named on the petition,” Freeman said. “There was no analysis. There was no evaluation. You simply accepted it hook, line and sinker.”

Freeman said doctors worry other tele-medicine practices will be thrown into doubt if the board adopts the rule.