Republican Iowa Governor Appoints Catholic Priest To State Medical Board

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) has appointed a Catholic priest to its state Board of Medicine, and because the state Senate did not vote on the appointment before the end of its session, Monsignor Frank Bognanno will remain on the board until at least January.

Bognanno has said he will not bring his religion into the position, but will be firmly “pro-life” — which, for the Catholic church, means opposing not just abortion but also birth control, which serves medical purposes for many women.

Branstad first attempted to put an anti-abortion activist on the board, which has three spots for non-doctors. But when state senators rejected his nomination, the governor appointed Bognanno.

Sen. Jack Hatch (D), who helped block the first nominee, said he probably would vote for Bognanno when the legislators reconvene in January 2013, but said he’d need to talk to him first. “I know he’s going to be pro-life. That’s never been the issue,” Hatch said.