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Iowa House Republicans Discuss Measure To End Medicaid Funding for Abortion in all Cases

Iowa House Republicans Discuss Measure To End Medicaid Funding for Abortion in all Cases

January 28, 2013 — Iowa House Republicans are holding preliminary talks to re-introduce a proposal that would prohibit Medicaid coverage of abortion in all circumstances, the AP/Mason City Globe Gazette reports.

Iowa's Medicaid program currently covers abortion in cases of rape, incest, if the woman's life is at risk or if the fetus will be born with severe deformities.

According to the AP/Globe Gazette, Iowa spent $19,402 for 22 abortions in the last fiscal year. Of those, 15 involved fatal fetal anomalies, five were to save the woman's life and two involved rape cases.

However, state Rep. Matt Windschitl (R) said, "One dollar spent on abortion services is one dollar too much." He added, "We want to make sure taxpayer dollars are not being used in a morally unconscionable way."

This is the third attempt by Iowa House Republicans to further restrict Medicaid coverage of abortion, according to the AP/Globe Gazette. Iowa Department of Human Services Director Chuck Palmer last summer dismissed Republicans' petition, saying that the policy would violate federal funding requirements and jeopardize all of the state's Medicaid funding.

State Sen. Jack Hatch (D) said that he expects Republicans to attach the measure to the Health and Human Services Appropriations budget, which would affect lawmakers' progress on other issues, including mental health funding. He criticized House Republicans for not being satisfied with the current law.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) did not say whether he would sign the legislation, but he added it is very unlikely that the measure would pass the Senate (AP/Mason City Globe Gazette, 1/24).