Health & Human Services

As Abortion Access Improved in Iowa, the Number of Women Getting Them Dropped 30%

A surprising thing has happened since a controversial video-conferencing system tripled the number of Iowa towns where women could obtain abortions: The annual number of abortions has dropped 30 percent in the state.
August 28, 2013

A surprising thing has happened since a controversial video-conferencing system tripled the number of Iowa towns where women could obtain abortions: The annual number of abortions has dropped 30 percent in the state.

 
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland installed the system in 2008 to allow its doctors in Des Moines to dispense abortion pills to women in clinics around the state. The system made abortions available in towns where no one else offered them. But it did not make abortions more common, state data show. In fact, the numbers have dropped from 6,649 in 2007 to 4,648 in 2012.
 
The system, the first of its kind in the nation, will be debated intensely today during a public hearing before the Iowa Board of Medicine. Opponents say the system exposes women to potentially dangerous drugs without making a physician readily available to help patients deal with complications. Proponents say it offers women a proven way to obtain safe medication, and they say foes just want to make abortions harder to get.

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