An open letter to Gov. Branstad

Baby 3

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Iowa Statesman.


By Jon the Southern Baptist
On the Front Lines of the Culture War


Jon The Southern Baptist LogoI know if I sent a letter to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, it’s highly unlikely he would actually read it. In fact, his staff would take one look at the return address and just toss it in the “circular file.” So, I’m not going to waste a stamp, but that doesn’t mean I can’t tell him what I want to say, publicly.

If any of you feel the same, feel free to copy and paste it, throw your own signature at the bottom, and send it to the governor.

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Dear Gov. Branstad:

As a kid growing up, I looked up to you as a sort of hero. Of course, I had no idea what you were actually doing in Des Moines, but I saw how you instilled hope in my family during the 1980s Farm Crisis, and it made me feel good, too.

So, I’ve held you in deepest esteem.

But, I have to say your inaction and outright lies about taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood are just plain despicable. I watched the GOP gubernatorial primary debate in May of 2010, when you offered — without prompting — to remove all taxpayer funding for abortion, if elected.

I’m not going to “get all preachy” on you here, because I know you know what the Bible says about abortion and murder. I also know you know that the gift of life is precious — because you said so yourself, when you made that promise.

I didn’t vote for you, mainly because I believe Iowa would have been better served had Bob Vander Plaats won the GOP nomination. But I still believed you meant what you said that night. I took you at your word, and I eagerly awaited you to fulfill the promise.

More than four years later, I’m still waiting.

Yes, you put an end to the direct payment for abortion services either through state taxpayer funds or through federal Medicaid funds (also from taxpayers). But that was only a small fraction of the taxpayer support Planned Parenthood and Emma Goldman Clinic — the only private organizations that perform abortions in Iowa — receive from the State of Iowa.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, Governor, any taxpayer money provided to either organization offsets money donated, and provides funding to subsidize abortions. I know you’re not a dummy; you wouldn’t have been named president of Des Moines University if you were. So, I know you understand that money is fungible.

But, again, even if Planned Parenthood and Emma Goldman closed their doors right now, we would still have taxpayer-supporter abortion in Iowa. That’s because taxpayer funds — again, fungible money — support the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, which by their own admission continue to perform “emergency abortions.”

To avoid forcing you into an “uncomfortable situation,” UIHC hasn’t billed any of them to Medicaid, choosing instead to pay for them through their operating budget, which is still taxpayer supported.

That’s why, in this last election, I didn’t vote for you again. You lied to Iowans, which in my mind disqualifies you for the office you now hold. But, it gets much worse than that.

Outrage over Planned Parenthood’s sale of bodies and body parts from aborted babies reached a fever pitch a couple months ago. As a result, pressure has been mounting that you take action to finally fulfill your May 2010 promise. Instead, you devise a “review” of taxpayer funding, which was always going to show no direct taxpayer support for abortion procedures.

Not only have you doubled down on your lie, but you apparently think we, your constituents, are too stupid to know that you lied. Shame on you. If you had even a shred of decency in you, you would acknowledge you lied and then resign.

If you won’t resign, as you should, at the very least, follow through on the May 2010 promise and use your executive authority to end funding for abortion in Iowa. This is the same power you used unilaterally to close the Iowa Girls Training School and Juvenile Home in Toledo, as well as the Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.

You had no qualms taking action then. One would think a “pro-life” governor would have no problem taking similar action now.

Your party has called on you to act. The legislators in the General Assembly have called on you to act. The people of Iowa have called on you to act.

Because every day you don’t, more children are senselessly murdered in the name of convenience and profit.

Thank you for your time.


Jonathan Montgomery Harrington
“Jon the Southern Baptist”
Iowa Constituent

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Jonathan Montgomery Harrington is the pseudonym for the anonymous author of Jon the Southern Baptist, who is fighting on the front lines of the culture war on a daily basis. If you have a suggestion for his contributions to The Iowa Statesman, write to him at