The Big Story: Taxpayer-funded facility still performing taxpayer-paid abortions in Iowa

Baby 2By Bob Eschliman


With the release of four (and counting) videos depicting the atrocities happening at Planned Parenthood facilities all around the country, there has been a renewed push to discontinue taxpayer funding for the organization.

In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad has insisted that taxpayer money not be used to directly fund abortions at Planned Parenthood. However, the organization still qualifies for family planning block grant funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Many have argued those funds offset Planned Parenthood’s other expenses, indirectly funding its ability to continue providing abortions.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is a 711-bed public teaching hospital and is operated through a public-private partnership that includes the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, which receives both federal and state taxpayer support. Due to that arrangement, it sees a disproportionate number of Medicare and Medicaid patients, compared to other privately owned major medical centers in the state.

It also performs taxpayer-funded abortions.

According to statistics released by UI officials upon a public information request from The Iowa Statesman, since July 1, 2009, the UIHC has performed 438 abortions. It has done so using facilities that are at least partly funded at taxpayer expense.

The period in question was requested because it includes the final full year of former Gov. Chet Culver’s administration, and all of Branstad’s current administration. Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers has repeatedly denied that taxpayer funds are directly funding abortion procedures.

“Because Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds believe strongly that every life is worth protecting,” he said, “they have asked the Iowa Department of Public Health to thoroughly review the funding the Legislature appropriated for women’s health and the Family Planning Block Grant to ensure it does not and will not ever fund abortions or operations related to abortion procedures.”

The number of abortions performed each year during that period has ranged from a low of 60 in Fiscal Year 2013 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013) to a high of 78 the very next year (FY 2014 — July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014). The average, per year, at UIHC was 73 for the six-year period. All of the procedures were performed at UIHC; UI officials say abortions are not performed at the Carver College of Medicine.

The breakdown:
FY 2010 – 77 abortions
FY 2011 – 71 abortions
FY 2012 – 76 abortions
FY 2013 – 60 abortions
FY 2014 – 78 abortions
FY 2015 – 76 abortions

The Iowa Statesman also requested information regarding direct taxpayer funding for abortions during the same six-year period. University officials said 60 abortions were paid for directly from taxpayer-funded means, including Medicaid and Medicare. They also said each of the abortions during the six-year period were deemed “necessary.”

“None of the procedures above were elective cases,” UI Transparency Officer Ann Goff said. “Each procedure was provided either to preserve the life of the woman or because the fetus was diagnosed with an abnormality that was not compatible with survival outside the womb.”

Tim Overlin, executive director of Personhood Iowa, which has been campaigning to end the practice of abortion throughout the state — and has launched a petition specifically calling on Iowa’s elected officials to end taxpayer funding of the practice — said the UIHC’s statistics expose continued lying from those leaders.

“We have been promised and told repeatedly we aren’t using taxpayer dollars to kill children,” he said. “This is more proof those were all lies all along. Now is the time for pro life Iowans to demand our allegedly pro life politicians put a stop to this once and for all rather than covering for them.”