Iowa House Votes to Stop Funding Abortion, Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 19, 2012   |   3:58PM   |   Des Moines, IA

The Iowa state House has voted to stop paying for abortions with taxpayer dollars and stop sending family planning funds to agencies that do abortions, such as the Planned Parenthood abortion company.

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.

Norm Pawlewski, a lobbyist for Iowa Right to Life, informed LifeNews that the amendment “will deny taxpayer funds for abortions (except to save the life of the mother) and deny family planning funds to abortion providing health clinics.” The amendment also removes exceptions for rape and incest, as well as, fetal abnormalities in terms of when taxpayer dollars can be used to fund abortions in Iowa.

“A department shall not distribute state or federal family planning funds under this section to any entity that performs abortions or that maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed,” the amendment reads.

Iowa pro-life blogger Shane Vander Hart explained the family planning de-funding provisions further.

“In addition all state departments that distribute state and federal family planning money are required to report to the Governor and the General Assembly who received state or federal family planning funds.  If they do distribute state or federal family planning funds to an entity that doesn’t provide primary health services they have to explain why it was necessary to prevent severe limitation or elimination to family planning services to that region of the state,” he writes.

Iowa House Republicans strongly supported the abortion and abortion business de-funding proposal.

Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker applauded the news: “Many Iowans, including myself, are morally opposed to abortion. It is simply wrong to force an individual to finance something that is against his or her conscience.  As Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘to compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.’ I applaud the Iowa House for standing up not only for life but for all Iowans who are morally opposed to their tax dollars being used for abortions.”

The bill, SF 2336, now goes back to the Senate and Iowa Right to Life is urging pro-life groups to contact legislators there to urge support for it. The bill will probably be considered by the Senate early next week.

“Just ask them to support the denial of tax dollars for abortion and abortion providers. Ask them to support the Whole Women’s Health Priority in the HHS Appropriation,” IRTL’s Pawlewski said.

The amendment was expected to pass the Iowa House — where Republicans outnumber Democrats 60 to 40 —  but it’s less likely to survive the Democrat-led Iowa Senate.

ACTION:  Contact members of the Iowa Senate here.