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Iowa Appointee Claims She Had “Nothing To Do” With Group She Helped Host In 2008

Robin Marty

The Iowa Senate rejects an appointee to the Iowa Board of Medicine over Operation Rescue ties that she denies she has.

The state of Iowa will not be adding Colleen Pasnik, an anti-choice activist who was formerly the executive assistant for the Dubuque County Right to Life, as a member of the Iowa Board of Medicine, despite Governor Terry Brandstad’s recommendation. 

The senate refused Pasnik’s appointment after her connections to Cheryl Sullenger, a felon convicted of planning to bomb an abortion clinic, as well as other members of Operation Rescue, surfaced. 

Pasnik, however, says the “connection” is overblown. Via the Des Moines Register:

Colleen Pasnik, Branstad’s nominee for the Iowa Board of Medicine, denied any direct association with anti-abortion activist Cheryl Sullenger.

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Pasnik and Sullenger were pictured standing beside each other at a 2010 hearing before the Iowa board the governor wanted her to serve on. At that hearing Pasnik and other anti-abortion advocates lobbied against Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s telemedicine program for medical abortions.

“It was simply to petition. It was a time of public input, which I think is how our society works. People do have the right to do that,” Pasnik told The Des Moines Register today.

Pasnik acknowledges she is in the picture with Sullenger but said she didn’t realize at the time who she is other than a Kansas attorney.

That may have been the only connection at that time, but Pasnik has had a long history with Operation Rescue.  Back in 2008, when she was the executive assistant for the Dubuque County Right to Life, the group hosted Operation Rescue’s president, Randall Terry.  To imply that she had no idea who Sullenger, the group’s long time policy director, was other than “a Kansas attorney” seems disingenuous at best.

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