A group of 41 Iowa Republican representatives has filed a petition requesting emergency rulemaking that would halt all Iowa government-paid abortions in cases of rape and incest.
The petition cites state law in arguing that rules allowing for abortions paid by Medicaid for fetuses that are physically or mentally deformed or those conceived in cases of rape or incest are illegal and should be rescinded.
The state now has until Aug. 10 to respond to the petition, initiated by Rep. Dawn Pettengill of Mount Aburn. The agency could dismiss the petition or move forward with the rulemaking process, which includes going through the state’s Administrative Rules Review Committee, which has 10 Iowa Senate or House members and is equally divided by Democratic and Republican makeup.
Pro-choice advocates called the petition irresponsible, saying it would jeopardize Iowa’s $1.8 billion in annual federal Medicaid allocations. They cite a 1976 congressional action known as the Hyde Amendment that allows states to deny abortions except in cases of life endangerment of the mother, and pregnancies conceived in instances of rape and incest.