“Women can die when life-ending drugs are carelessly administered,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Iowa’s regulation and today’s decision demonstrates that doctors agree that chemical abortion can be dangerous for women and requires a careful examination. Providing these drugs without a physical examination by a physician amounts to nothing less than reckless gambling with the lives of women.”
During the litigation, Planned Parenthood admitted that, under its preferred method of chemical abortion, a physician never physically meets with a woman. Moreover, staff members—such as certified medical assistants (CMAs)—conduct physical exams or ultrasounds instead of doctors or other licensed healthcare providers.
Today’s decision acknowledged that chemical abortion is not safe for some women, and that the Board’s purpose was to ensure the health and safety of women considering chemical abortion by requiring physician presence. Such presence promotes the necessary physician-patient relationship and helps ensure examination by healthcare personnel trained to recognize the dangers inherent in the chemical abortion process.
The court also rejected Planned Parenthood’s arguments that the regulation is invalid under the U.S. Constitution, finding that the regulation poses no “undue burden” to women seeking chemical abortion in the state of Iowa.