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Iowa House Committee Advances Budget Blocking Abortion Providers From Family Planning Program

May 14, 2015 — An Iowa House committee on Tuesday advanced a state health and human services budget (SF 505) that would prevent abortion providers from participating in a family planning program, the AP/Omaha World-Herald reports.

Background on Current Program

According to the AP/World-Herald, the program provides family planning services to nearly 17,000 low-income individuals between ages 12 and 54. The program is projected to spend $3.4 million in federal funding and $532,000 in state funding during the current fiscal year.

All family planning clinics that participate in Medicaid are eligible to participate in the program, including Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

Proposed Changes

Under the proposed budget, Iowa would no longer accept matching funds from the federal government to operate the program. Instead, it would create a new program funded by federal grant money, which would provide the state with more leeway in how the funds are spent.

The budget proposal would not allow "any entity that performs abortions or that maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed" to provide services under the new program. It would include exemptions for miscarriages and life-threatening medical conditions.

Reaction

State Sen. Amanda Ragan (D) said the state Senate in its budget would keep the current program and funding system in place. According to the AP/World-Herald, any potential differences between the two budgets will need to be resolved in negotiations.

PPH Director of Public Affairs Erin Davison-Rippey said if the state House's proposed changes were to go into effect, "Iowans [would] have a harder time finding a provider who is eligible to participate" (AP/Omaha World-Herald, 5/13).