The founders of Iowans for Health Liberty co-wrote an Op-Ed that was cosigned by 98 Iowa physicians, “Iowa abortion rules would traumatize victims, worsen doctors’ care”.
Dear Editorial Board,
As physicians caring for patients in Iowa, we are gravely concerned about the Iowa Board of Medicine proposed rule 653-13.17 to administer statute HF 732
(https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/LGE/90/HF732.pdf), the 6 week abortion ban recently passed in the special session of the Iowa Legislature and temporarily blocked by a district court (https://cdn.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/cb/d1/cbd1f50d-8dcc-4cce-a9a2-39680cc14b61/05771__eqce089066_orot_12220552.pdf). Proposed rule 653-13.17 puts physicians in the position of interpreting complex legal scenarios and prevents us from providing the highest standard of patient care.
This rule states that physicians must not only interpret the legal statutes regarding rape and incest but also ask for facts surrounding the timing of events such as the occurrence, the reporting, the individuals responsible and their familial relationship to the patient. NONE of this information is necessary to provide medical care and abortion. The attending physician “may require the woman seeking the abortion to sign a certification form attesting that the information she gave was true and accurate to the best of her understanding.” This certification is unethical, hostile and not required in any other area of medicine. These interactions will undermine the trust necessary for quality medical care. Furthermore, these mandates force victims of sexual assault to recount painful details of abuse, exacerbating traumatic experiences.
The final section of this rule, labeled “13.17(5) Discipline,” does not give any specifics about what disciplinary procedures, if any, would be carried out against a physician who performs an abortion that violates these rules or HF 732. We would argue no discipline should be meted out. The lack of detail in this section imposes a heavy burden on obstetrician-gynecologists in Iowa, already a scarce group. Iowa ranks 50 out of 50 for the number of obstetrician-gynecologists per women of child-bearing age. These physicians face a vague threat of ‘Discipline,’ which may derail a career spanning decades, remove a trusted physician from the care of hundreds of other patients, and further compromise an already scarce medical workforce.
Physicians in Iowa seek to provide empathetic and personalized care for their patients–not jeopardize the physician-patient relationship by demanding horrifying details. Physicians in Iowa seek to promote positive health outcomes and justice, not to withhold care while waiting for our patients to fully miscarry, for their health to decline enough to qualify for treatment or result in their death. The population of Iowa deserves better than arbitrary rules that do not promote the health and wellbeing of pregnant patients.
As the Board of Medicine considers how to best apply the rules to HF 732, we implore them to protect the practice of medicine, to advocate for the physician-patient relationship and reject mandates for non-medical questioning in the exam room. It neither enhances patient safety nor improves the practice of medicine.
This letter is signed by Emily Boevers MD MA, Andrea Greiner MD MHA, Jami Maxson MD, Francesca Turner DO, Jennifer Abler DO, Candyce Ackland MD, Brigid Adviento MD, Lydia Alexander MD, Cole Anderson DO, Carryn Anderson MD, Austin Baeth MD, Elizabeth Baker MD, Michael Baker DO, Lisa Banitt MD, Renu Bansal MD, Briana Barclay MD, Chandramohan Batra MD, Tasha Beenken DO, Amy Bingaman MD, Elizabeth Boggs MD, Holly Bolger DO, Maureen Boyle MD, Nicole Brokloff MD MPH, Kristy Calland DO, Bick Carfrae MD, Allison Carlisle MD, Christine Carstensen MD, Erin Casey MD, Grace Chabal MD, Lindsey Christianson MD, Whitney Cowman MD, Judith Crossett MD PhD, Lyndsey Day MD, Alexander Dresden DO, Marygrace Elson MD MME, Jill Endres MD MS, Kelly Ferroni MD, Kiara Festing-Smith DO, Jennifer Gabel DO, Annemarie Gilley DO, Jacob Groen DO, Michael Haugsdal MD, Grant Henning MD, Emily K. Hill MD, Cynthia Hoque DO, Ben Howard DO, Sarah Jacobitz-Kizzier MD, Julia Jenkins DO, Lindsey Jenkins MD, Brianna Jewell-Newton DO, Jacob Jipp MD, Sarah Jones Ketter DO, Summer Joy son DO, Cynthia Juhler DO, Ashley Kaiser MD, Kimberly Kenne MD, McCabe Kenny MD, Jennifer Killion MD, Robin Kopelman MD MPH, Victor LeClair DO, Megan Lee DO, Kelsey Lee Wagner MD, Erin Lehman MD, Katharine Linder MD, Rebecca Lundquist MD, Sara Mackerley DO, Abbi Madden DO, Abigail Mancuso MD, Maggie Mangold MD, Savannah Marker DO, Carolyn Martin MD, M. Michele Martins MD, Megan Megan MD MPH, Daisy Miller DO, Tana Perry MD, Monica Peterson DO, Stephanie Pothoven DO, Rachel Preisser MD, Jeffrey Quinlan MD, Jonna Quinn DO, Marika Raff MD, Erica Raff DO, Ann Rathe MD, Cecilia Redmond-Norris MD, Raquel Relph DO, Anne Sayre MD, Jenny Schuchmann MD, Yogi Shah MD, Rebecca Shaw MD, Karla Solheim MD, Jennifer Steines MD , Christina Taylor MD, Shannon Throndson MD, Therese Tran DO, Emily Trudeau MD, Deborah Turner MD JD, Jana Van Rybroek DO, Lisa Vigue MD, Andrea Weber MD, Sean Westendorf MD, Avery Whitis MD, Alayna Williams DO, Cynthia Wong MD