Branstad OKs Medicaid abortion funding change

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad now has the final say on payments for all Medicaid-funded abortions in Iowa.

Branstad on Thursday signed a health care bill that includes a provision that changes the rules for how the state reimburses abortions for Medicaid patients. Previously the state Medicaid program approved the dollars after extensive review. But under the new rules, Branstad will have to sign off on these reimbursement dollars.

Iowa’s Medicaid program covers a small number of abortions each year due to rape, incest, fetal deformity or to protect a mother’s life. The new rules effect reimbursements after the abortions, not authorizing the procedures ahead of time.

Abortion rights advocates say Iowa would likely be the first state to set such a policy.

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