Iowa Stops Paying for Rape Victims’ Abortions

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has stopped paying for emergency contraception, including abortions, for victims of sexual assault.

Federal regulations and state law required Iowa to pay for some of the expenses for sexual assault victims who require medical help, such as the costs of forensic exams and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. 

The Republican Attorney General, Brenna Bird, who defeated her Democratic component in November, told the Des Moines Register that those payments are now on pause as part of a review of victim services.

From Newsmax:

"As a part of her top-down, bottom-up audit of victim assistance, Attorney General Bird is carefully evaluating whether this is an appropriate use of public funds," Bird Press Secretary Alyssa Brouillet said in a statement. "Until that review is complete, payment of these pending claims will be delayed."

Victim advocates were caught off guard by the pause. Ruth Richardson, CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a statement that the move was "deplorable and reprehensible."

Bird's decision comes as access to the most commonly used method of abortion in the U.S. plunged into uncertainty following conflicting court rulings on Friday over the legality of the abortion medication mifepristone. For now, the drug the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2000 appeared to remain at least immediately available in the wake of separate rulings issued in quick succession.