Once again, the anti-abortion front attempts another maneuver to further limit women’s rights over their own bodies. This one comes from the state of Iowa, where a petition is being circulated in hopes of making public abortion funding unobtainable to anyone in the state, regardless of the circumstances of their situation. They seek to end all government funding of Medicaid, arguing that it violates state laws. This includes (or rather specifically attacks) abortions in cases of rape, incest, severe birth defects and when a birth threatens the life of the mother.
Of course, many of those who will be affected are unable to pay for these services on their own. To make matters even more ludicrous, the total number of abortions of these types during the entirety of last year adds up to 22, five of which were performed to save the lives of the mothers. This seems a rather small number of serious cases to garner so much attention from anti-abortion groups.
The results may not be quite what Iowa is hoping for, however. While the $1.8 billion in federal funding that Iowa currently receives for Medicaid can not be legally used for abortions of a less contentious nature, the exceptions to this regulation are incest, rape, deformities and the life of the mother. By passing a law eliminating these exceptions, they threaten to jeopardize all their Medicaid funding, effectively shutting down medical funding for the poor.
In a further crazy twist, the very law that makes federal funding illegal for most abortions may be the only thing that protects what limited rights still exist. All but one of the 14 states that have approved similar bans have been placed under court order to follow the federal version of the law, shutting down anti-abortionists’ efforts.
Many believe there is nothing to worry about and that the petition is simply political grandstanding by the anti-abortion lobby in order to keep their names in the news. It is unlikely that Iowa will place nearly $2 billion at risk for a number of abortions that total less than two dozen. Still, the very attempt to force women to give birth under these extenuating and sometimes dangerous circumstances speaks volumes about how much value the anti-abortion front really places on human life.