- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Planned Parenthood in Iowa would have no state funding under a budget bill advanced Thursday by some House Republicans, but the proposal is not expected to have enough support in the Democratic-majority Senate.

The House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines for language in a health and human services budget bill that would remove Medicaid funding for family planning facilities in the state that provide abortions.

Republicans in the House have proposed similar language in previous sessions with little success in the split Legislature. A key lawmaker in the Senate says the proposal would make the state ineligible for federal dollars that pay for the bulk of family planning services under Medicaid, which offers health care to poor and disabled residents.

“We believe in working within the budget and why would we give up federal dollars?” said Sen. Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City and chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee that also approves health and human services funding.

Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls and a member of the House committee that advanced the bill, said the state would fill the gap left by the removal of federal dollars.

“We don’t want that money going to organizations that provide abortions,” he said. “That is the issue that causes angst within our caucus.”

Medicaid dollars are not used for abortions in Iowa. There is a measure that technically allows Medicaid payments for medically necessary abortions, but it requires approval from Gov. Terry Branstad and the Republican governor has never approved it.

Chuck Hurley, a representative for The Family Leader Foundation, an anti-abortion organization, said it is “disingenuous” to believe state dollars given to the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Iowa doesn’t help provide abortions. He has been involved in previous efforts to defund the organization and he expects the issue to possibly delay the session’s scheduled adjournment in a few days.

“The tension is going to be even greater this year,” he said.

Other state legislatures have taken similar defunding action following the release of secret videos by anti-abortion activists that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they sometimes supply fetal tissue for medical research. Those activists allege the videos show Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has denied wrongdoing and several state investigations around the country have not produced evidence that it acted illegally.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland provides health services in Iowa. Erin Davison-Rippey, director of public affairs for the organization, said the budget language would reduce family planning services for low-income residents.

“This is a politically motivated move that would ultimately hurt women and families in Iowa,” she said in a statement.

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