Letter to the Editor by Thomas Hill

To the Editor:

Iowans value their freedom to make their own healthcare decisions without interference from the government. This attitude extends even to the emotional issue of abortion. The majority of Iowans believe such pregnancy questions should be left to a woman and her physician.

A recent Iowa poll found that 61% believe that abortion should be legal in most cases, while only 33% felt it should be illegal. And yet, extreme Republicans who are in control of our state government intend to restrict that freedom as much as possible.

The latest example is House File 146, which is supported by State Representative Anne Osmundson. The bill would make it a felony to “manufacture, distribute, prescribe, sell or transfer” abortion drugs in Iowa. The use of pills to cause an abortion (called a medical vs. a surgical abortion) was the most common approach used in Iowa in 2020 at over 79%.

Typically, pills are used in the first 10-11 weeks of pregnancy with the patient taking one pill, and then, 24 hours later a second one. This approach is approved by major medical organizations and has been shown to be safe with complications developing in less than 0.3% of patients.

In December 2021 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed a restriction that required patients to obtain the pills from a certified provider and allowed patients to have the pills prescribed through telemedicine and obtained by mail from certified pharmacies. In January of this year, the FDA broadened the availability of the pills to more pharmacies to include large chains, like CVS and Walgreens.

If HF 146 becomes law, patients will not be able to get prescriptions for the pills or receive the pills through the mail, blocking Iowa women from receiving a critical medical procedure.  The state law would clearly conflict with the power granted by Congress to the FDA to regulate drugs. In fact, a lawsuit was recently filed in federal court in West Virginia by one of the companies making abortion pills arguing that a similar state law is unconstitutional.

Sadly, HF 146 shows what can happen when radical Republicans are given full control of state government: the will of the people is overridden.

Thomas Hill