Okay, ladies and gents, hold your kittens close and your uteri closer, because here it comes:
Women in Iowa must now seek personal approval of the republican governor in order to have Medicaid cover an abortion. If the actual sound coming out of you after you read that sentence was Rawrgaggrgh!* then I’m right there with you. How, you might be asking, are they doing this?
Well, according to the Des Moines Register it seems this particular provision was piggy-backed onto a much larger, 214 page bill that will extend “government-paid health care to tens of thousands of Iowans and earmarking $1.7 billion for the state’s various social service programs” as a sort of compromise with conservatives in order to get the omnibus healthcare bill passed.
On page 33 of this important, and on the face of it wonderful, bill to expand healthcare, is a provision that changes the procedure for Medicaid approvals for abortion payments.
So here’s a breakdown of the current law for receiving Medicaid reimbursement for abortions:
There are four circumstances under which your abortion would be approved: rape, life of the mother, fetal abnormality, and incest. Right now, the Department of Human Services reviews the claims for Medicaid funding, scrutinizing the documentation to ensure the abortions happened under one or more of those four circumstances, and either approves funding or the bill is sent to the woman. I have no numbers now for the amount, or percentage, of women denied funding. All I have to say is that at least right now the documentation is being reviewed by medically trained professionals who aren’t held politically accountable in order to keep their jobs. I could write a whole other post discussing the detrimental effects of the Hyde Amendment that spawned these restrictive current laws. But I digress…
Under the new procedure, the final say in the review process would fall to the governor. Let me be clear: this process happens after an abortion has already been performed.
Let that sink in.
A poor woman is raped, or her life is threatened by her pregnancy or she finds out about a severe fetal abnormality, and after she makes a choice that may or may not be very difficult, she then has to wonder whether or not her application will be approved by a conservative man who has no medical training and is held up to scrutiny of pro-life organizations in order to keep his job.
Aren’t Republicans the ones who are afraid of government-paid healthcare becoming an over-reaching government bureaucracy that controls which medical procedures citizens are allowed to get? Maybe they’re not being hypocrites. Maybe it’s part of some vast conservative conspiracy to appear to relent to government-paid health care in order to chip away at women’s healthcare with the excuse being “compromise” for a dual purpose: the first purpose is to of course chip away at women’s healthcare, but the second would be so they could hold up their own actions as examples for why government-paid healthcare is scary and filled with death panels.
I would almost rather that scenario be true, but they aren’t even trying to hide their attack on women.
“My hope is that we will not have a reimbursement for abortions that happen at the University of Iowa, because I believe using tax dollars for morally unconscionable purposes is absolutely wrong,” said state Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley.
This means that there actually is a group of people who are hell bent on controlling women’s bodies. Which leads me to: the democrats are letting them (at least in some places, I’m still super excited about their awesome job in Texas). Why the hell is women’s health care considered an issue that can be compromised on? Fuck no! They had a chance to take a stand on everybody’s healthcare, and they decided that “everybody” didn’t include women.
Let’s not forget the more insidious effects of laws such as these. What happens when a Medicaid review doesn’t pass? They send the bill to the patient, who, being eligible for Medicaid, doesn’t have the money to pay. Then the hospital, clinic, or doctor absorbs that bill. I wouldn’t be surprised to see hospitals refusing abortions to Medicaid recipients in any legal way they can once they see that abortion funding won’t be approved. Maybe they’ll absorb the abortion bills into their already inflated charitable services bills. Proponents of the bill are hopeful that the increased number of Iowans with insurance would lower the amount of charitable services hospitals perform and thus the hospitals would be better able to absorb the costs of these abortions.
This is just one in a long line of state attacks on women’s rights. So please, ladies everywhere join me in saying: Rawrgaggrgh!
*I’m pretty sure that’s sound somebody makes when they simultaneously let out an angry “rawr” at injustice while also gagging on said injustice