The Republican-led Iowa House passed a ban on telemed, or webcam, abortions on Tuesday. 52 Republicans and three Democrats voted in favor of House File 2175. Rep. Tom Shaw of Laurens was the lone Republican not to vote in favor of the bill. He did so primarily because it does not ban all abortions.
The bill was authored by Rep. Matt Windschiltl of Missouri Valley and Rep. Kevin Koester of Ankeny led the floor debate. Koester cited federal Food and Drug Administration reports that 14 women have died from taking the abortion-inducing drugs used in webcam abortions.
“A huge thanks to my fellow House Republicans for advancing HF 2175 tonight,” Windschitl posted on his Facebook page. “This legislation follows the will of Iowans and eliminates the practice of webcam abortions in our state. Rep. Kevin Koester did a masterful job floor managing this bill through the legislative process! Countless innocent lives can be saved by this legislation. Yet one more step forward in the fight for the unborn!”
Republicans argue that abortions conducted via webcam are dangerous not only to the aborted baby, but also the pregnant woman. A doctor is not present during the procedure, but instead administers the abortion-inducing drugs after chatting with the patient via teleconference.
The Iowa Board of Medicine also expressed concerns that webcam abortions endanger the pregnant woman. Last year, they voted 8-2 to ban the procedure. However, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Board of Medicine’s decision. A Polk County judge then placed a stay on the telemed abortion ban while the case works its way through the court system.
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