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New Law Barring Abortion Providers From Birth-Control Program Hits Roadblock

By Radio Iowa Contributor, June 15, 2017

Officials have hit a snag in implementing a new state law that is to forbid Medicaid patients from getting reproductive health exams and prescriptions for contraceptives at facilities where abortions are performed.

The law goes into effect July 1, but The Des Moines Register reports the Council on Human Services voted four-to-one to reject the rules written to implement the new law. Republicans lawmakers who crafted the plan argue tax dollars that cover family planning services for low-income Iowans should not be spent at places like Planned Parenthood.

The Register reports the Council on Human Services raised concerns Medicaid patients will be unable to find care because those patients won’t be able to use clinics associated with hospitals that provide abortion. Plus, about $3 million in a tight state budget will be shifted to cover the costs of reproductive care for Medicaid patients, since federal money now cannot be used.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services says the new law goes into effect, regardless of whether administrative rules are in place, but the Council on Human Services will reconvene Friday to reconsider its rejection of those rules.

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