Iowa Governor Opposes Plan to Define Birth Control as Abortion

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver last week voiced his displeasure with President
George W. Bush’s proposed rule change that would redefine birth control
as abortion.

“Redefining certain forms of birth control as abortion is an
unreasonable interpretation of basic contraception and family
planning,” Culver said. “Over 98 percent of all American women will use
contraceptives at some point in their lives. Assuring access to safe,
affordable and reliable forms of family planning is sound public

In a letter sent Aug. 6 to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary
Michael Leavitt Culver called for a block of the proposed Bush
Administration rule change.

… Thirty-four states, including Iowa, have enacted laws
and policies that would be jeopardized due to the proposed definitional
change. These state-based legal protections ensure women’s access to:
birth control, including contraceptive equity in insurance, emergency
contraception for sexual assault victims in the emergency room, and
birth control at the pharmacy.

As Governor of the State of Iowa, I am very concerned with the
federal government’s efforts to impose upon our state’s rights. This
attempt at overturning legitimately-enacted laws focused on increasing
access to basic health care and family planning is wrong. I strongly
urge you not to proceed with this rule change and to prevent its formal

Iowa is among 27 states that have laws or policies that require
insurance providers that cover prescriptions to provide coverage of the
full range of FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices.

The proposed regulation change defines abortion as “any of the
various procedures — including prescription, dispensing, and
administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any
other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human
being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or
after implantation.” The definition could be interpreted to sweep in
birth control, including emergency contraception, intrauterine devices
(IUDs) and other forms of hormonal contraceptives. This expanded
definition is to be applied based on the providers’ beliefs and could
allow any provider who wants to deny women birth control pills to claim
protection based on a personal belief that such pills fit the
regulatory definition of abortion. Up to 34 states, including Iowa,
would be subject to changes in existing law.

Culver joins a growing coalition of Iowa elected officials who are
opposed to this new rule. Federal office holders Tom Harkin, Leonard
Boswell, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, all Democrats, have all voiced
their opposition to the proposed rule change based on the impact it
could create for women in Iowa and across the nation.

“Without consulting doctors or relying on sound science, the Bush
Administration is deciding to change the definition of birth control
for all Americans,” said Jill June, chief executive officer and
president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa. “It’s ludicrous, and
people in Iowa and across the country will not buy it.”

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  • invalid-0

    As a female sculptor who creates monumental bronze works, I was flying in a private corporate jet with a male CEO of a well known American corporation. The CEO decided to tell me, a “woman in a man’s field” that “what has brought down America is birth control and Star Wars.” I was stunned. I asked, “Do you mean the weapons system or the movie?” I was going to ask about how he felt birth control brought down this nation once I got the answer to my first question. His answer gave me the whole picture as to where he was coming from. He stated, “THE MOVIE! It made women think they could be heros!”

    WHEW! I reminded him of historic female heros like Florence Nightengale, Joan of Ark, Bodicca, who all were battlefield heros! The Jr. Exec. cleared his throat in a warning to probably both of us to keep the flight civil. The CEO became silent as did I for the remainder of the flight. What dawned on me was that this sexist is an example of what caveman attitudes are running this country. They believe birth control freed women too much! This is the mindset that we are fighting against. They STILL want to keep us barefoot and pregnant!

  • invalid-0

    Well I guess it all depends on how you look at it. When birth control was first marketed the fact that you can have breakthrough ovulation 4-15 % of the time was not revealed. They even changed the definition of conception to mean after implantion at the American College of Obstretics and Gynocology in the 70’s so as not to upset the largely Christian community and potential buying public. If you believe, as I do, that conception begins the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, the choice is quite clear. After the sperm and egg become one it continues it’s journey down the falopian tube to the uterus while splitting and dividing. When it reaches the uterus it is about 100 cells and is seperating into 3 layers and has travled for 7 days. If you are taking birth control pills at this point when the egg tries to implant the uterine lining is to thick causing a natural or spontaneous abortion. If you choose not to believe these facts I challenge you to ask your OB/GYN why you need to use a back up form of birth control when you are taking an antibiotic. The reason is because the antibiotic softens the uterine lining making implantation possible. The way I see this issue is that authentic freedom does not come from a pill, but from the Truth.

  • mellankelly1

    Well I guess it all depends on how you look at it

    Thank you.  I couldn’t have said it better, myself!  You are right, each individual woman is best qualified to decide the course of her own pregnancy based on how she looks at the question of when "life" begins (which is a seriously vague question, to begin with.)  This decision should be based on her own personal belief system or if her religion plays a big role in her life, perhaps she will make this decision based on her religious leaders teachings.  She will also have to give all due consideration to the advice of her doctor and discussions with her loved ones.  Absolutely no consideration should be given to the opinions, personal belief systems, religion, or moral observations of any third party with no stake in the outcome of her decision.