"Our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our patients," Planned Parenthood of the Heartland President and CEO
June said there have been no complaints from more than 5,000 women who have utilized Planned Parenthood's telemedicine delivery system for medication abortion at 15 health centers. She added that there was no medical evidence or information that questioned the safety of her agency's system or indicated that the board's ruling was based on the health and safety of
"The board believes that a physician must establish an appropriate physician-patient relationship prior to the provision of a medical abortion," Bowden said in a statement. "The physician's in-person medical interview and physical examination of the patent are essential to establishing that relationship."
In her 16-day ruling, Romano said she acknowledged the board's expertise in regulating the provision of medical care in
"With respect to the lack of an in-person meeting, it is peculiar, as petitioners point out, that the board would mandate this for abortion services and not any other telemedicine practices in
"Further, the court strains to understand how decreasing the number of apparently effective and safe abortion services offered to
"If anything, the opposite is true; women who would be unable to attend one of the five remaining clinics that could maintain chemical abortion services despite the implementation of (the proposed rule) would not receive adequate healthcare as they would likely be unable to access those services," the judge wrote in her stay order.
Romano said that denying access to telemedicine abortion would increase the need for surgical abortion which, she concluded, would be much more invasive and risky.
"Women may even choose to self-terminate their pregnancies if they are left with no other option, which is undoubtedly the least safe method of abortion," the judge wrote. "In light of the hardships such woman would face, the court is not convinced that the public's interest in promoting safe, healthy, and adequate medical services in
The board, which oversees and regulates physicians and medical practices in
A majority of the board members cited concerns over the medical care being provided to rural women. The proposed administrative rule would establish standards of practice for physicians who prescribe and administer abortion-inducing drugs. The revised rules would require in-person meetings between doctors and patients along with direct after-care services.
At issue is a practice whereby licensed physicians use a remote-controlled system to conduct medical assessments with patients in rural
Proponents say Planned Parenthood's practice -- implemented in 2008 -- is safe and patients get the same level of care as those who see a doctor in person. They contend telemedicine procedure was thoroughly researched to ensure it was in full compliance with
Abortion opponents asked the state board to block the program, saying it violates state medical standards and poses a health risk to women because it doesn't entail a face-to-face meeting with the doctor.
"It is devastating that
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