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Iowa Abortion Laws: Quotes From Heated Debate

By    |   Friday, 09 October 2015 05:20 PM

Iowa abortion laws continue to spark heated debate in the Hawkeye State.

In 2013, Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, outraged pro-choice supporters in Iowa by putting his signature on a law that activists called "extremely intrusive."

The bill requires that the state's governor personally OK abortion service reimbursements to hospitals and clinics that offer the procedure for those women are on Iowa's Medicaid program in cases or rape, incest or when there are medical problems with the fetus.

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“This bill—now law—is outrageous on many different levels,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue in a statement on the group's website. “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.

Hogue added: "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.”

In 2015, however, Branstad said he would give up his power to decide who gets paid for such Medicaid reimbursed abortions. The law, which drew national attention, was the only one of its kind in the nation. Some said they were glad it would end.

"Having legislation saying the governor has to sign off on whether to pay for it makes it a political issue," Rep. Lisa Heddens, a Democrat from Ames, told The Des Moines Register.

In June, the Iowa Supreme Court approved the use of telemedicine for medical abortions in a ruling that reversed a lower court decision.

"This is a major victory for the women of Iowa and for reproductive rights in general," Suzanna de Baca, president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told The Des Moines Register. "It really validates our belief that this was politically motivated.”

Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life expressed disappointment in the ruling: "We're devastated, but obviously we're not going to wave the white flag of surrender."

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The state also adopted language requiring doctor’s to offer to show sonogram images to women seeking abortions.

"It is already part of Planned Parenthood's standard of care to provide every woman with the opportunity to view her ultrasound, and also to provide her with information about her pregnancy options including adoption, parenting and abortion,"
Angie Remington, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said, according to The Des Moines Register. "While this is not going to directly impact a woman's access to abortion, it is not the job of lawmakers to dictate the practice of medicine."

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Iowa abortion laws continue to spark heated debate in the Hawkeye State.
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Friday, 09 October 2015 05:20 PM
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