Thumbing Nose At Critics, Iowa Governor Nominates Priest for Medical Board Vacancy

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Thumbing Nose At Critics, Iowa Governor Nominates Priest for Medical Board Vacancy

Robin Marty

In what can only be described as a "F-you!" moment, Governor Terry Brandstad replaces a nominee who was rejected over being too anti-abortion with a Catholic priest.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has made it very clear how he feels about those legislators who objected to his decision to put an anti-choice activist in to fill a state medical board vacancy.

In retaliation, he’s nominated a Catholic priest instead.

Via the Des Moines Register:

Branstad, who has known [Msgr. Frank Bognanno, the pastor at Des Moines’ Christ the King Catholic Church] for years, lauded him in a statement released today. “Father Bognanno is eminently qualified to serve on the Board of Medicine, and given the role of Catholic Charities in providing health care across Iowa, the governor believes he will bring a valuable perspective to the Board of Medicine,” the governor said.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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Des Moines lawyer Tom Drew, who served on the medical board from 2007 until earlier this year, said it’s hard to believe it was coincidence that Branstad nominated a second person who was part of the anti-abortion delegation at the 2010 board meeting. Drew said he knows Bognanno through their shared Catholic faith. “He’s a wonderful human being and a great spiritual adviser,” Drew said. But he questioned the appropriateness of nominating someone who is so identified with one side of a controversy that regularly comes before the medical board. He said he would feel the same way if an abortion-rights activist had been nominated.

Bognanno was also intimately involved in the same protest of RU-486 that the prior nominee, Colleen Pasik, was a part of, which ousted her from consideration for the appointment due to the association with Operation Rescue felon Cheryl Sullenger.

But beyond that, Bognanno’s appointment is even more cause for concern. The priest actively and vocally advocates as an Iowan mouth piece for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, opposing the idea of no co-pay contraception, and allowing expanded conscience clauses for religious institutions — including hospitals.

Should the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have a voice on the Iowa Medical Board? Brandstad seems to think so, and is going out of his way to provide it.