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Bid To End Medicaid Abortions For Rape And Incest Fails In Iowa

Bid To End Medicaid Abortions For Rape And Incest Fails In Iowa

Iowa Republicans mean-spirited attacks on poor women took a step backwards last week.

As Robin Marty reports, one of Gov. Terry Branstad’s top officials denied a request from House Republicans to forbid Medicaid funds going to abortion services in the cases of rape and incest. Iowa Department of Human Services director Charles Palmer told House Republicans via letter that such move would be a clear violation of federal law and jeopardize all the money the state gets from federal government to cover Medicaid expenses, approximately $2.1 billion annually.

The petition brought by the House Republicans contended that rules allowing for abortions funded via taxpayer dollars for fetuses that are physically or mentally deformed or those conceived in cases of rape or incest are illegal and should be rescinded.

In Iowa, 22 Medicaid-paid abortions were performed in the fiscal year 2012 which ended Saturday. Of those, 15 were for severe fetal anomalies, five were performed to save the life of the mother, and two were for rape. That’s it. Republicans in Iowa were willing to risk $2.1 billion in federal funding that provides critical social services to the neediest of Iowans just to punish 22 women.

Gov. Branstad is a staunch abortion foe, so perhaps Iowa can serve as a lesson in limits on the abortion fight. The anti-woman, anti-choice zealots have so far not been able to bankrupt states over their cause, but that’s not without trying. Had Branstad had some way to cut off Medicaid funding for abortions in the case of rape and incest he would have. I suspect we’re going to see conservatives focus even more on this battle over Medicaid funding of abortions as anti-abortion leadership at the state level tests the limits of the “coercion theory” and limits on federal-state partnership spending blessed by the Roberts Court in its Affordable Care Act decision.

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Photo from Jo Naylor via flickr.

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64 comments

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8:13AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Thank goodness for someone with sanity!

3:23PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Thanks

3:05PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Good thing that the bill failed. Don't these morons know that slavery is ILLEGAL?

And yes, I said slavery! Forcing a woman to stay pregnant against her will is for all intents and purposes BIOLOGICAL SLAVERY. I would far rather see my tax dollars go towards allowing women to abort if that's the right decision for them than to go towards welfare, jail, hospitalization, etc. for those forced-birth children who are unwanted, doomed to have no QUALITY OF LIFE whatsoever due to genetic, physical, or severe mental deformity or defect, or anything like that.

And to those who say that the woman will have to live with the consequences, don't you realize that it's the WOMAN'S decision-not her significant other's, not a clergymember's, and especially not a lawmaker-hell, if you have a penis, you have no right at all to tell a woman she can't have control over her own body!

6:24PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

If you don`t want to be pregnant, why should you be forced to be pregnant. Simple as that.

8:28AM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Right on for the "FAIL"!

7:12AM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Ridiculous that they would even consider cutting off Medicaid for the state.
No woman should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy full term, especially is that fetus is deformed, she was raped, she is financially unstable, or her physical/mental well-being is at risk.
But every woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy should she choose to do so.

6:47AM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

It is about time someone stood up to these gutless bastards. Iowa is another shit hole that needs to be fixed by the Feds.

10:33PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Considering the amount of money these guys were willing to give up, is it possible they just used Medicaid-funded abortions as an excuse to try and cut off Medicaid funding for their state? If they knew that cutting off Medicaid funding for abortions would cost them all the Federal Medicaid funding, then it sounds to me like that was their ultimate end-game. After all, it's not just Medicaid-funded abortions they want to stop - they want to stop Medicaid itself.

I'm thankful that the governor was not willing to let that happen, regardless of his own beliefs on abortion. Of course, I'm sure signing off on a plan to remove over $2 billion in Medicaid funds wouldn't have been good for his re-election campaign, but at least he did the right thing.

10:21PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Good.

8:25PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

No woman should be forced to carry her rapist's baby.

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