Iowa Legislature Kills Bid to Cut Planned Parenthood Funds

State   Steven Ertelt   May 11, 2012   |   6:51PM    Des Moines, IA

The Iowa state legislature, before wrapping up its legislative session for the year, killed off an effort put forward by pro-life groups to cut off taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

While Planned Parenthood doesn’t get funding for abortions, it receives $6 million in state tax dollars as reimbursement for providing birth control and family planning for women that can be obtained elsewhere without supporting an abortion business.

On a vote of 57 to 37, the Iowa House passed H-8489, submitted by Rep. Annette Sweeney. The amendment to the HHS Appropriation bill, SF 2336, was the latest version of what has been referred to as the Whole Women’s Health Priority Amendment.

Eric Goranson and Norm Pawlewski, lobbyists for Iowa Right to Life, talked about how Iowa House Republicans were unable to convince Democrats in the Senate to support the Sweeney Amendment, which would have ended taxpayer funded abortions in Iowa and prioritized family planning funds to ensure comprehensive health care providers were funded to the fullest extent possible as opposed to companies that do abortions.

“While the Sweeney Amendment was in Conference Committee, the Senate had Senators Hatch, Bolkcom and Ragan, the most rabid pro-abortion legislators in that chamber negotiating for them,” the pro-life lobbyists explained. “They would fall on their sword before giving an inch to life. Pro-lifers solely only had one, our committed pro-life champion, Representative Matt Windschitl.”

“The House refused to fund the section of the HHS budget dealing with family planning and taxpayer funded abortion above the amount in the two-year budget appropriated last year,” they continued. “This allowed them to come to an agreement on the rest of the budget and adjourn for the year, which they did Wednesday.”

The result was that appropriations for family planning and certain areas of Medicaid could not be agreed upon and will run out of money during the next legislative session.

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“The House Republicans have therefore teed up the issue and forced a supplemental appropriation vote early on in the next session to deal with abortion funding,” the Iowa pro-life lobbyists explained. “If the Iowa Senate is controlled by a majority of pro-life Senators after this November’s election, we’ll be able to finish this debate once and for all regarding prioritizing of funds and the end of taxpayer funded abortions. It’s important to note that Medicaid is fully funded and anyone needing Medicaid or Medicare services or even family planning services will receive them in the interim.”

They said Iowa Right to Life is extremely disappointed the House and Senate were not able to come to an agreement on de-funding Planned Parenthood this year, but are hopeful that the stage has been set for a major victory for the unborn next session.

“Iowa Right to Life is profoundly grateful for the brave leadership of Representative Annette Sweeney.  Without her courage and tenacity, we would not have made the strides we did this session. Without her commitment to life, we would not be this close to ending taxpayer funding of abortion,” the pair concluded.