Iowa moves to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood

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By Timothy Mclaughlin

<span class="articleLocation”>The Republican-controlled Iowa state senate
voted on Thursday to cut Medicaid funding for family planning
services to abortion providers including Planned Parenthood.

State senators passed the bill 30-20, advancing it to the
Republican-controlled House. The vote was along party lines,
with one independent voting in favor of the measure.

Republican Governor Terry Branstad has said he supports the
bill. Planned Parenthood draws the ire of many Republicans because
it provides abortions, and Republican President Donald Trump has
pledged to defund the organization.

“This change will allow Iowa to restrict government funding
to family planning services away from organizations that perform
abortions that are not medically necessary,” Republican Senator
Amy Sinclair, one of the bill’s sponsors, said on Thursday
before the vote.

Planned Parenthood denounced the vote.

“The Republican lawmakers who continue to advance this bill
should be ashamed of themselves. They are playing political
games, with the lives of low-income Iowans at stake,” Planned
Parenthood of the Heartland said in a statement.

“This bill does nothing to advance their extremist agenda to
limit access to abortion. Instead, it blocks access to crucial
family planning services for thousands of Iowans – the very
services that most effectively prevent abortion. It’s a
self-serving, misleading and dangerous political game.”

The bill directs the Iowa Department of Human Services to
discontinue the Medicaid family planning network waiver on July
1 and replace it with a state family planning services program.

Eligibility requirements for the new network would remain
the same, but no funding would be provided to organizations that
provide abortions or maintain facilities where abortions are
carried out.

Planned Parenthood is Iowa’s largest abortion provider with
12 clinics in the state, but no public money is used for
abortions, according to the Des Moines Register.

Branstad has proposed paying for the new state-run program
by shifting $2.8 million in funds from services for vulnerable
adults, families and children, the newspaper reported.

Planned Parenthood is also facing a funding cut in Texas,
where a judge is considering the move, which the organization
has challenged in court.

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