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June 21, 2013

Iowa Governor Signs Unprecedented Anti-Choice Bill into Law

Washington, D.C. — NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue condemned Gov. Terry Brandstad (R) for signing an extremely intrusive anti-choice bill into law.

Bill S.446 requires the state’s governor to approve personally each individual reimbursement to a hospital or clinic that provides abortion services to a woman insured through Iowa’s Medicaid program in cases of life, rape, incest or fetal anomaly.

“This bill—now law—is outrageous on many different levels,” said Hogue. “Women in Iowa already face so many barriers in trying to get safe, legal abortion care. Now their governor will be deciding personally on a case-by-case basis, whether a woman’s doctor will be paid for providing a legal, medically appropriate, and constitutionally guaranteed procedure.  I’m sure the people of Iowa voted for their leaders on the promise of a better economy, not so they would carve out time to review each reimbursement request for a woman’s abortion care. This outrageous law represents an unprecedented level of intrusion in women’s private health decisions and an astonishing waste of government time and resources.”

The bill also raises questions around how this will affect a doctor’s decision to provide care for which he or she might not be reimbursed. Although the Hyde amendment prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or to save a woman’s life, states may choose to fund abortion care beyond those circumstances with their own dollars. Iowa’s Medicaid program goes beyond the federal restrictions only to cover abortion in cases of fetal anomalies.

“This bill is the latest attempt not only to intimidate and shame women who have endured so much, but to discourage doctors from providing a completely legal and safe form of health care,” Hogue continued. “Until we vote them out of office, anti-choice politicians will continue to find creative ways to chip away at women’s rights and ultimately end legal abortion care altogether.”

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