Washington, DC—The following is a statement from Mark S. DeFrancesco, MD, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) regarding the Iowa Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood of the Heartland vs. Iowa Board of Medicine:
“ACOG is pleased with the Iowa Supreme Court decision to uphold the ability of physicians, including obstetrician-gynecologists, to provide medication abortion services remotely through a telemedicine system.
“Medication abortion is a safe and effective way to terminate a pregnancy. Telemedicine, which involves the use of audio-visual or information technology to provide women with a consultation with a physician at a remote clinic, can help to bring this safe, effective method of reproductive care to the women who need it.
“Medication abortion care delivered through telemedicine can be particularly beneficial to rural women, whose reproductive health needs can be underserved due to geographic limitations. Without remote access to medication abortion, more women would have to delay or even forego abortion care. This is especially true in a state like Iowa, where many women would have to travel hundreds of miles in order to reach an abortion clinic. Before the telemedicine abortion program was implemented in Iowa, 91 percent of counties in the states lacked a known abortion provider.
“Telemedicine is widely regarded as an important and promising technology in medical care, and its potential benefit to American patients’ access to care is significant. In fact, the Iowa Board of Medicine has, in the past, stated an intent to reduce regulatory barriers to telemedicine services. Singling out and restricting one particular use of telemedicine care is wrong, and we are pleased that the Iowa Supreme Court has recognized that. Today’s decision will help many women in Iowa get the safe, effective care that is right for them.”
ACOG’s Committee Opinion on Medical Management of First-Trimester Abortion, which addresses telemedicine, can be found here.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org