The public should be outraged by an amendment buried in the Medicaid expansion compromise that gives Governor Branstad veto power over poor women’s right to choose. Current law allows Medicaid to fund a woman’s choice to end a pregnancy only in cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother and the state extends funding to severe fetal deformity as well. The extremist Republican faction in the House added language giving Governor Branstad unilateral power to approve or veto paying for these few exceptions. Imagine a poor woman that has suffered a sexual assault through rape or incest and now is required to get approval from Branstad before payment can be made. The Republicans have played the big health care scare card with Obamacare for years claiming the government should never come between the patient and doctor. This change actually inserts Governor Branstad directly between a woman and her Doctor in one of the most personal, emotional and traumatic medical situations.
Governor Branstad has been pressed to give some indication of how he might rule in these cases. He says he’s “comfortable” making these decisions and said “I would discourage (these procedures) wherever possible”. The public should demand in advance what he means by that. If a woman has been raped will she need to prove legitimate rape to get the procedure paid?
This is further evidence of the extremist Republican national agenda of war on women’s privacy and health care choices. If Governor Branstad believes in a woman’s right to privacy and respects her ability to make this most personal decision he should simply agree to approve every one of these exceptional cases now.