The Iowa Senate spent a few hours today debating a $1.2 billion spending plan for state health and human services programs, but much of the debate focused on just under a million dollars for family planning services.
Abortion foes staged a losing battle to cut out that state funding, part of which is destined for Planned Parenthood. Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, failed in his attempt to divert that money to create a new state program that would encourage women with an unplanned pregnancy to choose adoption.
"We’re talking about a measly $750,000 here to be targeted to help women carry their…unborn children to term and to provide the support services that they need afterward," Johnson says. Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, says state law prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions and the money being set aside will be used for contraception and other reproductive health services for women living at or below the poverty line.
"So let’s be clear. This is not for abortions. It doesn’t go to a single agency," Hatch says. "It goes to help poor women." Twenty-nine senators sided with Hatch and turned back Johnson’s attempt to change the state funding plan for family planning services.