Planned Parenthood sues to block Idaho's ban on abortion through telemedicine

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn two recently passed Idaho laws that ban women from receiving abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.

Telemedicine brings health care access to rural locations by allowing doctors to diagnose and treat patients from a remote location using the latest telecommunications technology.

Rural health care practitioners use it to capture and transmit medical data and images to other doctors, allowing for cost-efficient expert consultations.

In a lawsuit filed today, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest says that the laws, signed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter this year, create an undue burden on women seeking abortions.

The new laws require doctors to be present when administering pregnancy-ending pills.

It also requires doctors to make "all reasonable efforts" to schedule a follow-up, but it does not specify how many days later.

Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of the legislation argued that the law better protects women's health against so-called "webcam abortions," which are not accessible in Idaho.

Planned Parenthood has three clinics in Idaho, all of which provide abortions.