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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court on Tuesday halted a ban on the use of a video-conferencing system that allows doctors to distribute abortion-inducing pills to women in rural areas of the state.
The stay means Planned Parenthood of the Heartland can continue using the system until the high court makes a final ruling on whether the Iowa Board of Medicine had the authority to adopt the ban last year. The agency was set to start following the ban Wednesday after a district judge ruled in favor of the board last month, the Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1t9urTD ).
The district judge ruled the board had authority to regulate such issues and had met legal requirements for making new rules. Planned Parenthood appealed and the case was sent to the Iowa Supreme Court.
The system allows Planned Parenthood doctors in Des Moines or Iowa City to prescribe abortion-inducing pills while meeting with patients in rural areas though a secure Internet video connection.
Mark Bowden, the medical board's executive director, expressed disappointment in the court's ruling.
"The board adopted the rule to protect the health and safety of Iowans," he wrote. "The extension of the stay perpetuates what the board believes is inadequate health care and treatment for Iowans who seek medical abortions."
Planned Parenthood has said the ban is politically motivated and would jeopardize women's access to safe health care.
Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com
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