August 27, 2014

Senate blocks Branstad nomination to Board of Medicine

The Iowa Senate has blocked the governor’s wish to have a Dubuque woman serve on the Iowa Board of Medicine.

Colleen Pasnik of Dubuque testified before the board in 2010, asking the panel to forbid Planned Parenthood of the Heartland from using video conferencing to prescribe the abortion pill. Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, pointed to that testimony as the reason for his no vote on Pasnik’s nomination for a three-year term on the board.

“She was accompanied by people who were…arrested and convicted of crimes and bombing of abortion clinics,” Hatch said.

Pasnik has said she does not advocate violence and didn’t know another person who testified at the Board of Medicine’s meeting had a criminal history. Hatch questioned whether Pasnik could be an impartian board member.

“A person like this who the strong beliefs might very well be unable to provide the non-biased support or judgement…on serious matters of medicine,” Hatch said.

Pasnik was the director of the Family Life Office for the Archdiocese of Dubuque and is currently the vice president of a group called The Power of Prayer. Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican from Ottumwa, said he cannot comprehend why she shouldn’t serve on the Board of Medicine.

“This is a woman who, in all my research, has lived true to her values,” Chelgren said. “…Here’s somebody who lives their life based on their Catholic convictions. I find nothing to stop me from voting to confirm her.”

Twenty-nine senators voted for Pasnik, but she needed the support of 34 to be confirmed for the post on the Board of Medicine. In an interview with The Des Moines Register after the vote, Pasnik said it’s a sad day when someone is not allowed to serve their state simply because they’re pro-life.