DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa abortion foes alerted Gov. Terry Branstad’s attorney before asking a state licensing board to stop a statewide abortion pill dispensing system, according to a Tuesday article in the Des Moines Register.
The governor’s lawyer then attended the board meeting and told its members how they could quickly consider banning the system.
Activists want to halt the long-distance system used by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. It lets a doctor in Des Moines deliver pills via videoconference to patients at clinics around Iowa. Planned Parenthood has used the system to deliver pills to about 3,000 women since 2008.
An email showed that abortion opponent Jenny Condon contacted Branstad counsel Brenna Findley in June, before the group delivered a petition to the Board of Medicine seeking a ban on what have been called “webcam abortions.”
Findley later attended a board meeting and gave advice differing from that of the board attorney, who urged caution.
A public hearing on the proposed ban is set for Aug. 28.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said Findley did not respond directly to the email, though she has spoken to people about the issue.
He also said Findley serves as administrative rules coordinator for the Governor’s Office. “In that role,” he wrote in an email, “she responds to inquiries and receives information from both the public and agencies on rule-making issues.”