Planned Parenthood expanding telemedicine offerings in Iowa

Agency to continue telemedicine abortions offering until ruling goes into effect Nov. 6

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will start offering reproductive health services via telemedicine at satellite centers around the state, the group announced Thursday.

The agency offers offer birth control consultations, birth control method changes and sexually-transmitted disease testing on a limited schedule at centers around the state. By expanding these services on video-conferencing systems in which patients correspond with doctors remotely, Planned Parenthood can serve more people, Spokeswoman Shelby Cloke said.

The move is not connected to a recent ban on telemedicine abortions, she said.

The Iowa Board of Medicine voted last month to prohibit doctors from dispensing abortion-inducing pills through the video-conferencing system, citing concerns over the safety for women in rural areas.

Planned Parenthood will continue to offer telemedicine abortions until Nov. 6, when the ruling goes into effect, Cloke said. She would not say whether the agency will appeal the ban in court.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland serves Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.