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TIS files public information request

Baby 4Following today’s release of a second video that shows a Planned Parenthood official negotiating the sale of body parts from aborted babies, The Iowa Statesman specifically asked Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s spokesman, Jimmy Centers, if the governor intends to put a stop to taxpayer-funded abortions.

In response, Centers said, “There is not a line item in the state budget for Planned Parenthood. In Iowa, Planned Parenthood does not receive state funds for abortions. Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds have ensured that Planned Parenthood is never reimbursed for an abortion.  It is important to note that there have been zero taxpayer reimbursed Medicaid abortion procedures over the past two years, including at the University of Iowa.”

He then referenced Senate File 505, the Health and Human Services budget bill adopted this year. On page 20, that bill states $1,930,067 has been allocated for “pregnancy prevention grants on the condition that family planning services are provided.” It further states:

“Pregnancy prevention grants shall be awarded to programs in existence on or before July 1, 2015, if the programs have demonstrated positive outcomes. Grants shall be awarded to pregnancy prevention programs which are developed after July 1, 2015, if the programs are based on existing models that have demonstrated positive outcomes. Grants shall comply with the requirements provided in 1997 Iowa Acts, chapter 208, section 14, subsections 1 and 2, including the requirement that grant programs must emphasize sexual abstinence. Priority in the awarding of grants shall be given to programs that serve areas of the state which demonstrate the highest percentage of unplanned pregnancies of females of childbearing age within the geographic area to be served by the grant.”

The means by which Planned Parenthood receives funding from the Iowa Department of Human Services is through the “family planning services” component of the grant block. And while it doesn’t provide direct funding of abortion procedures, it does arguably offset Planned Parenthood’s expenses elsewhere, which allow it to further its abortion programs.

But Planned Parenthood isn’t the only taxpayer-subsidized provider of abortion services in Iowa.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, which are at least partially subsidized by taxpayer funds — the university itself receives substantial public assistance — do perform abortions. Past media reports indicate that while Medicaid funds were not used to pay for abortions, that was only because the hospital wasn’t seeking Medicaid reimbursements.

The Iowa Statesman has officially filed a public information request with the University of Iowa requesting the number of abortions performed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Culver College of Medicine during the past six years. The request also asked for the number of those that were funded by Medicaid or other taxpayer-funded source. University of Iowa Transparency Officer Ann Goff has acknowledged receipt of our request.

We will provide an update once we hear back from the University of Iowa.