Judge overturns Idaho laws banning telemedicine abortions
A federal judge overturned two Idaho laws that banned women from receiving a medication-induced abortion via telemedicine.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands argued that two state laws passed in 2015 created “unnecessary hurdles to safe and legal abortion that are not grounded in science, but instead rooted in politics,” said CEO Chris Charbonneau.
The first law requires a doctor to be present when administering abortioninducing medication. The second law outlined telemedicine practices but included one line that banned doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication via telemedicine.
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican who signed both laws, declined a request for comment.
The ruling requires the Idaho Legislature to repeal the law that requires a physician to be present for a medication-induced abortion and also to eliminate the abortion provision from the telemedicine law by the end of 2017. If the Legislature fails to do so, both laws will be considered unconstitutional.
Idaho is one of 19 states that prohibits abortions via telemedicine.
To receive a medication-induced abortion via telemedicine, a woman typically goes to a clinic and receives an ultrasound and counseling. After she gives formal consent for an abortion, a physician via videoconference reviews her medical information to ensure she is eligible for a medication-induced abortion. If so, a set of tablets is administered to the patient and the physician watches her take them. The woman then takes the remaining set of tablets at home after 24 hours.