An attempt by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to get new rules that ban their so-called "webcam abortion" proceedures tossed has been tossed aside by a district court judge.
Judge Jeffrey Farrell today refused Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's request for judicial review of rules the Iowa Board of Medicine passed in August of 2013 banning a Planned Parenthood practice that uses a videoconference so that a doctor in Des Moines could speak with a patient at a remote Planned Parenthood clinic.
Farrell also said that unless the Iowa Supreme Court intervenes, an injunction that blocked the state board from enforcing its rules would be lifted in 30 days.
In 2013 the Iowa Board of Medicine tossed out rules a previous board adopted in 2011 that allowed the telemedicine system, and approved regulations that effectively ban the procedure in the state.
Planned Parenthood claimed the Iowa Board of Medicine members were attempting in the new rules to outlaw rural abortions. Supporters of their action claimed that the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 shouldn't be dispensed via remote control by a doctor who hasn't seen the patient.
Iowa was the first state in the nation that allowed the telemedicine approach to abortions, and was the first to outlaw an existing practice.
A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland says they are planning an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court. In a statement, Iowa Board of Medicine Director Mark Bowden says the agency is "pleased the District Court has affirmed its authority."
The ban on enforcement of the rules has been in effect since November 6, 2013.