The Iowa legislature’s on-going battle over abortion was waged on two fronts today. House Republicans pressed forward with their plan to deny state tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. It’s included in a budget bill that passed the House early this afternoon.
Also this evening, Democrats in the Iowa Senate were able to kick two members off the Iowa Board of Medicine who had voted in 2013 to ban so-called “telemed” abortions being performed at Planned Parenthood facilities.
“Support the constitutional rights of Iowa women…support safe medical care, not politics,” Senator Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines, said. “This is the Board of Medicine, not the Board of Politics.”
The chairwoman of the Board of Medicine who hails from Governor Terry Branstad’s hometown of Lake Mills and a doctor from Iowa City failed to get enough senate votes to stay on the board. Petersen said their support of the ban on tele-medicine abortions “was all the information she needed” to deny them another term on the board.
“This is the Board of Medicine,” Petersen said. “This is not Governor Branstad and Kim Reynolds’ board that they politically stack with people who won’t back a woman’s constitutional right for a legal medical procedure.”
Republican Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull expressed his frustration.
“You know, you Democrats talk about tolerance all the time, right?” Feenstra said. “…You’re taking down an immigrant that loves Iowa…In your estimation, he didn’t do what you wanted him to do, so you’re taking him down.”
Another Republican senator noted that nine Democratic senators who voted against reconfirming the Board of Medicine’s chairwoman tonight had supported her appointment to the board back in 2014. That was after the board had made its controversial decision about tele-med abortions. The Iowa Supreme Court eventually overturned the board’s decision.