pearson
State Representative Kim Pearson at Tea Party Rally in Des Moines last Spring

Iowa State Representative Kim Pearson (R-Pleasant Hill) said on her Facebook wall that State Representative Annette Sweeney’s (R-Alden) amendment to the Health and Human Services budget bill (HF 2435), entitled the “Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priorities Act” (H-8213) will not end taxpayer-funded abortion.

She wrote:

We have been misinformed. The Sweeney amendment, H-8213 will NOT end taxpayer funded abortion. It will, theoretically, divert the money away from Planned Parenthood and toward a “whole woman’s health” medical provider. So, in short, taxpayer funds will continue to be used to kill babies. Not only will this amendment continue to fund abortions, it will, in my opinion, incentivize PP to build to become “whole woman’s health” providers. Glen Massie, Tom Shaw and I worked to craft an amendment to H-8213 to make it a TRUE defunding of all abortions. It is the Shaw amendment H-8402.

I will NOT support H-8213 without the Shaw H-8402 defunding amendment.

Last month I shared the primary text of State Representative Sweeney’s amendment:

1. Subject to any applicable requirements of federal law, regulations, or guidelines, any expenditures or grants of public funds for family planning services by the state made by a department shall be made in the following order of priority:
a. To public entities.
b. To nonpublic hospitals and federally qualified health centers.
c. To rural health clinics.
d. To nonpublic health providers that have as their primary purpose the provision of the primary health care services specified in 42 U.S.C. § 254b(b)(1).

2. A department shall not enter into a contract with, or make a grant to, any entity that performs abortions that are not federally qualified abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions that  are not federally qualified abortions are performed.

State Representative Tom Shaw’s (R-Laurens) Amendment, H-8402, amends Sweeney’s amendment to eliminate public funding of abortion and locations that perform abortions.  State Representative Pearson’s statement that the Sweeney amendment will not defund abortion is absolutely correct.  It wasn’t designed to do that nor have the groups, like The FAMiLY Leader who are behind the amendment have promoted it as such.  Chuck Hurley of The FAMiLY Leader told Radio Iowa on Friday that the goal is to move money away from Planned Parenthood.

This amendment would move that money away from people like Planned Parenthood and to comprehensive, full-service health care providers.  It would not cut any funds. It would redirect them to those that can provide more and better services to needy women.

Unfortunately, it did not happen in 2011. It’s overdue.  Now, nine other states — at least — have done something similar and it’s Iowa’s turn.

Pearson said that her Facebook message was in response to emails that she had received from constituents and others who falsely believed the Sweeney amendment was going to defund abortion.  The money, however, that goes to Planned Parenthood from the state is not used for abortion, but it allows them to divert other funds toward abortion.  Pearson also said she didn’t know where the false information was coming from and wasn’t trying to point fingers at any one group.  She said she had doubts that the Sweeney Amendment would be successful in even cutting off Planned Parenthood believing that they would find a way around it.

The Sweeney Amendment uses language that passed in nine other states, but with Pearson, Shaw and Massie not backing the amendment and lacking the support of a few moderate Republicans it is doubtful this amendment will even pass the House.  While the Shaw amendment will gain the votes of Shaw, Massie and Pearson; it is uncertain what support will be lost and it is likely doomed to failure in the Senate.

So we’re faced with a similar question faced last year with the debate with the late-term abortion ban.  Try to do something incrementally that will, in this case, impact Planned Parenthood’s funding in Iowa or essentially doom a bill to failure by adding language that is likely to fail with the current make up of our Senate because it doesn’t go far enough?

2 comments
  1. Just an FYI, Planned Parenthood is more of a “whole woman’s health” provider than any other entity. Short of your bizarre fixation on the legal procedure known as abortion, I’m not understanding why you continue to erode access for women to essential medical services. It’s sick and wrong.

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