Branstad Denies Iowa GOP Request To Ban Medicaid Funding for Rape Victims

A back door attempt by the state GOP to narrow what qualifies for a Medicaid-funded abortion is turned down by the governor's office.

Gov. Terry Branstad. DesMoinesRegister.com.

The Iowa GOP’s attempt to prevent low-income victims of rape from obtaining a Medicaid-funded abortion has once more been rejected, this time by the governor’s office itself.

Last session, anti-choice lawmakers in the statehouse held the yearly budget hostage in an attempt to ban federal funding of abortion for rape victims who qualify. After failing in session, they took a new approach and filed a petition to end the funding.

Now that approach has failed, too.

Via Radio Iowa:

One of Governor Branstad’s top administrators has rejected a request from House Republicans to forbid taxpayer-financed abortions in cases of rape and incest.

Iowa Department of Human Services director Charles Palmer sent a letter to the House Republicans who made the request. Palmer said he respected their “deep feelings” on the issue,” but had to reject their attempt to force his agency to eliminate Medicaid funding of abortions in cases of rape or incest.

Palmer said such a move would “violate federal funding requirements” and would “jeopardize all” the money the State of Iowa gets from the federal government to cover Medicaid expenses. House Republicans had argued Iowa would only lose $6 million, but Palmer concluded over $2.1 billion in federal funding would be in jeopardy if he had granted the request.

That this new ban was shot down by the office of Republican Governor Terry Branstad, who himself is no friend of reproductive rights, is a sign that even some Republicans see members of their own party as too extreme when it comes to ending the legal right to terminate a pregnancy.