“Good Luck! Take Care.”
Those are the words that Dr. Jill Meadows of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland tells pregnant women over the internet after said woman has taken the first dose of a medicine that is designed to terminate her pregnancy. The woman is then instructed to take a second dose of medicine in 24 to 48 hours at home.
The first drug the woman takes is Mifepristone, more commonly known as RU486. The drug works by blocking the activity of progesterone, a substance the female body makes to help continue pregnancy. The second drug is Misoprostol, which causes contractions of the womb and expels the baby.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Iowa’s ban on Planned Parenthood’s practice of administering these drugs remotely via the use of a webcam consultation by a doctor violated the federal constitution’s prohibition of actions that create an undue burden to women seeking an abortion.
Planned Parenthood successfully argued that Iowa’s ban on telemed abortions was a “blatant attempt” to limit rural women’s access to a legal medical procedure. The Iowa Supreme Court’s rule may have cleared the way for Planned Parenthood to continue offering abortion inducing drugs to women via the internet, but the National Institute of Health is pretty clear that anyone who uses these drugs should be seeing a doctor throughout the process.
The NIH’s website states:
You will take three tablets of mifepristone at one time on the first day. Two days later you must go back to your doctor. If your doctor is not certain that your pregnancy has ended, you will take two tablets of another medication called misoprostol. You may have vaginal bleeding for 9 to 30 days or longer. Fourteen days after taking mifepristone, you must go back to your doctor for an exam or ultrasound to make sure that the pregnancy has ended. Take mifepristone exactly as directed.
Isn’t it interesting that the Planned Parenthood doctor gives women both medications and sends them on their way with just a “good luck,” when the National Institute of Health lays out a much different, doctor supervised, process? Technically, Planned Parenthood says they schedule a follow-up appointment two weeks after the initial visit. But they don’t schedule a visit two days after the initial pills are taken as the NIH mandates, and the doctor who demonstrated the telemed procedures Planned Parenthood actually uses didn’t even mention a follow-up visit.
We have been told for years that Planned Parenthood was a health clinic, not simply an abortion mill. Yet, when it comes to drug induced abortions, Planned Parenthood doesn’t seem at all interested in providing its patients care throughout what can be a painful process mentally and physically. They just simply dole out the drugs and send you on your way without stressing the importance of multiple follow-up visits.
The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision may have people at Planned Parenthood, “thrilled,” but most Iowans are troubled by process. A March 2014 Iowa Poll by the Des Moines Register showed that 66 percent disapprove of the practice.
Obviously, pro-life proponents are disappointed, and rightfully so. It’s clear that the Supreme Court thought that the Iowa Board of Medicine was politically motivated when they instituted the ban. It’s also clear that the Court doesn’t believe that abortion inducing drugs may require more supervision and consultation than other types of medicines that people pick up at their local pharmacies.
Chuck Hurley, the Vice President and Chief Counsel of The FAMiLY LEADER, talked about the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision with Jan Mickelson on WHO Radio shortly after the ruling was issued. As expected, Hurley was disappointed with the Court, stating, “Our Supreme Court can’t get the basics, that our laws are based on natural law as the Declaration [of Independence] says, the law of nature and nature’s God.”
In addition to saying that the ruling will result in the death of thousands, Hurley also took the opportunity to advocate for changes to the way Iowa nominates Supreme Court Justices. The Court is currently comprised of three judges who were appointed by Governor Tom Vilsack and four who were appointed by Governor Terry Branstad.
In Iowa, Supreme Court Justices are nominated by a judicial nominating committee, with members of the committee being appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate. State law requires that a majority of the members on the committee be lawyers. The committee then submits to the governor a list of three applicants they deem to be the most qualified. The governor appoints one of the three judges that the commission nominates.
Hurley advocated that members of the judicial nominating commission should have to be elected by the people, not selected by the governor and confirmed by the Iowa Senate. Hurley also suggested that Governor Branstad could simply ignore the court’s ruling on the matter.
“In the short term, the Governor could say thanks for your opinion, but good luck enforcing it,” Hurley told Mickelson on Friday morning. Hurley’s statement is similar to the position that Bob Vander Plaats, who is now the President and CEO of the FAMiLY Leader, used in 2009 when he was running for governor. Vander Plaats proposed the idea that a governor could issue an executive order that would essentially overrule a court decision that he or she disagreed with. In 2009, Vander Plaats was commenting on the Court’s ruling on gay marriage.
Hurley’s position, that the Governor could simply not enforce the Court’s decision, wasn’t very well thought out. The Court’s decision allows Planned Parenthood to continue a practice that was already in place. Michelson actually realized the reality of the situation and said, “The Governor would have to forcibly shut down the process at the clinics.”
Hurley then added, “We don’t enjoy a constitutional crisis, but that’s when a true leader shows his true colors.” Hurley also mentioned that the legislature could also act on the matter.
It should be no surprise that Hurley and the FAMiLY Leader would put pressure on Governor Branstad to act. However, the executive branch essentially acted by banning the practice through the Board of Medicine, but the action just didn’t withstand judicial scrutiny. One has to wonder if the Court would have ruled differently had the legislature passed a law banning the practice instead.
One of the reasons the legislature probably didn’t act on the issue is because the pro-life movement in Iowa continues to be split. On one side, there are pro-life advocates and groups that, in addition to seeing abortion being banned outright, also push for new regulations on the industry that would save lives. The other side of the pro-life movements actively works against any legislation that doesn’t outright ban all forms of abortion.
Tim Overlin, the Executive Director of Personhood Iowa, wrote the following on Facebook following the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling.
When will we stop spending so much blood, sweat, tears, time, treasure, and talent for such nonsensical scraps? They aren’t going to hate us any less or spew any fewer venom filled words at us if we just plain start with and stick to what we want: All life, no exceptions, no compromise…if that’s REALLY what we all REALLY want.
Besides the legislation requiring a doctor to preform an ultrasound on a woman before an abortion that was passed this year, the Iowa legislature has been unable to pass any of the other abortion restrictions that have been enacted in over 15 other states in recent years.
In an article for LifeNews.com that touted the 231 pro-life laws that state legislatures have passed since 2010, Steven Ertelt wrote, “Electing pro-life candidates results in passing pro-life laws. Passing pro-life laws closes abortion businesses. Closing abortion centers saves babies from abortion.” That may be true in other states, but sadly it’s not true in Iowa.