Judge over­turns Idaho laws ban­ning telemedicine abor­tions

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Maria Castel­lucci

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.

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