Iowa Legislators Want to Stop Funding Abortions on Disabled Babies

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Iowa Legislators Want to Stop Funding Abortions on Disabled Babies

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
March 24, 2004

Des Moines, IA ( — Pro-life legislators in Iowa are attempting to stop taxpayer funding for abortions at the University of Iowa’s hospital because the unborn child is expected to be "physically deformed, mentally deficient or afflicted with a congenital illness."

Pro-life groups support the change and say abortions performed simply because of a physical or mental disability are discriminatory.

"We should not be targeting and funding the killing of people with defects," Kim Gordon, executive director of Right to Life of Iowa, told "People forget what this bill is about — its about taxpayers funding abortions."

The legislation normally contains a 26 year-old pro-life provision preventing taxpayer funding of most abortions, with the exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the mother’s life. Pro-life legislators want to remove the exception for disabled unborn children.

Other legislators, however, have blasted the pro-life representatives for removing the exception. Rep. Jane Greimann (D-Ames) called the change a "cruel step.’’

"There’s nothing mean-spirited about telling non-perfect people that we don’t want to kill you," Gordon countered. "It’s sad that they can’t be reasonable."

But the change could draw opposition or a veto from Iowa’s governor.

"We should not be in a position to interfere in that very difficult and personal choice, and the relationship between a woman and her doctor,’’ said Gov. Tom Vilsack (D). "If that’s what this legislation does, obviously, I’m going to have deep concerns about that.’’

Rep. Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mount Ayr), co-chair of the House-Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee that removed the exception, argued that taxpayers’ money should not be used for abortions, and pointed out that this does not prevent women, even low-income women, from seeking abortions with their own money.

"Those are not medically necessary in my interpretation," said Dolecheck referring to the abortions on disabled babies. "This is a choice.’’

Gordon agrees, and called the taxpayer funding of such a choice "dangerous." She added that sometimes doctors misdiagnose pre-birth defects, and supposedly handicapped or deformed babies are born perfectly healthy, or aborted without the malady with which they had been diagnosed.

"Taxpayers should not pay for killing non-perfect people," Gordon added. "Women rely on a doctor’s diagnosis, and sometimes the doctors are wrong."

Related web sites:
Iowa Right to Life Committee –
Iowa State Legislature –