The Iowa Legislature adjourns after the third-longest session in state history. Saying Sine Die on the session was delayed by one day because disagreement over Medicaid funding of abortion. An agreement has been reached. House Republicans wanted to restrict Medicaid abortion funding to allow only for saving the life of the mother and in cases when the child will not survive… I never saw what criteria there was for that. Democrats wanted funding in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, or to save a mother’s life to stay in place.
Well they went to conferencing and came to this “compromise”:
Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, co-leader of a House-Senate conference committee dealing with a $1.5 billion health and human services budget bill where the abortion dispute surfaced, said the compromise adds language that makes it clear that funding for abortion procedures performed at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City are attached to the federal law on Medicaid.
The current exceptions to only allow the procedures to terminate a pregnancy in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, rape, incest, significant fetal deformities or miscarriages would remain unchanged.
Lawmakers also agreed to make an appropriate standard of care whereby a woman would undergo an ultrasound 24 hours prior to an abortion procedure and would receive “informed consent” material to better understand all the options that include adoption, carrying the pregnancy to term and terminating the pregnancy, Hatch said.
Oooh wow, they make it clear it’s tied to federal law on Medicaid. Color me not impressed. So basically the Democrats got exactly what they wanted and the Republicans caved. Nothing in our law has really changed with the exception of a slight change. We allow the Feds to dictate how our taxpayer money is spent in this matter even when 1/2 the money comes from the state. Iowa should reject this on 10th Amendment grounds.
The other plus is the ultrasound and informed consent aspect to the agreement. Though that should never have had to be debated. It’s simply common sense, a woman desiring an abortion should know exactly what she is getting and be informed of all of her choices – it would seem that “pro-choice’ people forget that the only choice isn’t abortion. Democrats really didn’t have to give up any ground on this because Federal law is pretty much status quo and bodes in their favor. “Significant fetal deformities” would be determined by the Department of Human Services and the Governor… so we really don’t know how much that will allow. It allows too much subjectivity and could change with each Governor.
Iowa House Republicans should have held their ground on even tighter restrictions.