Van Ostern runs for New Hampshire 2nd Congressional District Democratic nomination.

Des Moines— The Iowa attorney general's office is still auditing its victim services, which has delayed emergency contraceptive funding for sexual assault victims.

Republican Attorney General Brenna Bird halted financing until the audit reports were complete to decide whether to proceed. Her office said the audit, which Bird launched 14 months ago, is in its “final stages” and a report will be released soon.

Under her Democratic predecessor, Tom Miller, sexual assault victims received partial contraception coverage. Last year, Miller's victim aid division director, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, told the Des Moines Register that sexual assault victims did receive abortion coverage in exceptional situations.

As 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,” said Bird's communications director, Alyssa Brouillet. Payment of these pending claims will be postponed until that review is complete.”

October's Register open records request was for the audit. Bird's office finished the records request after five months but refused to give any papers to the Register, citing Iowa Code's preliminary document exemption.

To ensure forensic evidence collection, federal and state laws require sexual assault victims to be covered for medical exams. The attorney general's crime victim compensation program in Iowa is supported by state and federal criminal fines and penalties.

Miller's administration compensated victims 75% for oral contraceptives, the Plan-B morning-after pill, and sexually transmitted illness prevention and treatment. According to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa, the audit is justifying payment termination.

“It’s absolutely deplorable that sexual assault survivors in Iowa have gone more than a year without state-covered emergency contraceptives — all because of politics,” said public affairs director Mazie Stilwell.

Bird ran against 10-term Miller saying she opposed abortion and would defend Iowa's stringent abortion legislation in April Supreme Court oral arguments. If maintained, the law on hold would outlaw most abortions after six weeks. Bird's office said the crime victim compensation fund pays for sexual assault exams, rape kits, and STI tests.

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