Forty-one Republican lawmakers in Iowa have filed a petition in a move to halt Medicaid-funded abortions involving cases of rape and incest, the Des Moines Register
The petition filed with the Iowa Department of Human Services claims that the rules governing Medicaid abortions in cases of rape and incest, and of physically or mentally deformed fetuses, are a violation of state law.
The petition, initiated by GOP state Rep. Dawn Pettengill, gives the department until Aug. 10 to respond, either by halting abortions or presenting its rules to a review committee made up equally of Democrats and Republicans.
Abortion rights advocates immediately labeled the petition irresponsible, suggesting that it would cost the state $1.8 billion in annual federal Medicaid funding and would put the state in the company of South Dakota — which is the only state in the country that currently denies Medicaid abortions in cases of rape and incest.
But Pettengill said the state would end up losing only about $4 million in Medicaid funds and insisted the state law should be followed.
“The 41 representatives who signed on to the petition want the law followed,” Pettengill said. “As far as I know, 41 lawmakers have never had to petition an agency to follow the law.”
Democratic lawmakers, however, accused the Republicans of election-year trickery, calling the move an extension of their efforts to restrict all abortions.
“This is a pure political strategy by them to keep their social agenda alive during the election,” state Sen. Jack Hatch told the Register.
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