Abby Goodenough reports in today's New York Times:
The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a rule on Friday that would have prohibited doctors from using telemedicine to dispense abortion-inducing pills to patients in remote clinics around the state, saying the ban placed an “undue burden” on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa have been using telemedicine to provide medication-induced, nonsurgical abortions since 2008, seeing it as a way to expand access to women living in the state’s many rural areas. Under the system, the first in the nation, doctors in Des Moines, Iowa City and Ames have used videoconferencing to provide the service to more than 7,000 patients in seven clinics.Meanwhile, Goodenough reports, sixteen states require physicians to prescribe in person the drugs involved in medication abortions. Arkansas and Idaho will join those sixteen later this year. For now, only Iowa and--to a lesser degree--Minnesota permit physicians to use video in prescribing such drugs.
Contrast this with the depressing news out of Texas, thanks to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Read more here, here and here.