Iowa Risks Losing Billions In Medicaid Funds If State Outlaws Rape, Incest Related Abortions

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"Iowa Risks Losing Billions In Medicaid Funds If State Outlaws Rape, Incest Related Abortions"

Every state but South Dakota follows the requirements of the federal Hyde Amendment, which prohibit the federal government from spending federal dollars on abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger. But now, lawmakers in Iowa have resurrected a proposal that “would prohibit low-income Iowans from having a taxpayer-paid abortion in cases of rape or incest” and are tucking the measure “inside what is expected to be a nearly $6 billion budget bill.” If the budget passes with the amendment intact, Medicaid would only pay for abortions when a mother’s life is in danger and the state could risk losing billions in federal Medicaid grants:

The proposal launched in March by House Republicans would remove rape and incest from the list. The Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats, stripped the provision from a budget bill….Civil rights groups have been highly critical of the proposal to prohibit Medicaid money from being used to abort fetuses conceived by rape or incest.

“What are we saying here?” asked Randall Wilson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said in March. “We’re saying that if a rich woman is raped, she can get an abortion because she can afford one, but a poor woman will have to bear the child. There’s no social justice in that.”

These moves come just days after a new study found that the national abortion rate has actually decreased by 8 percent between 2000 and 2008, but rose “nearly 18 percent among the country’s poorest women” — the very women who are most impacted by the state’s attack on abortion.

The number of abortion that resulted from rape or incest is also small. Since 2005, state statistics report just “three Medicaid-paid abortions for cases of rape in Iowa. There were no requests for abortions resulting from rape or incest last calendar year.”

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