Red alert. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill. Planned Parenthood has announced that it will close four of its 12 clinics in Iowa. That’s exactly one-third of reproductive health facilities in the entire state. The reason is painfully simple: funding cuts.
The closings would inevitably limit access to reproductive care in Iowa, especially in rural areas. According to Cosmopolitan, more than 14,600 people visited the four affected clinics in the past three years. The clinics scheduled for closing are located in Sioux City in northwest Iowa, Bettendorf in eastern Iowa and Burlington and Keokuk in the southeast.
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“This is a case of extreme Iowa politicians deciding they know what’s better for a woman’s health than the women actually seeking care, with devastating consequences,” said Suzanna de Baca, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
This isn’t even the end of it. More clinics are scheduled to close around June 30. Reproductive health centers are attempting to stay open as long as they can despite government interference. Planned Parenthood also emphasized that the availability of birth control, emergency contraception, and STD testing would also take heavy fire. Considering how large Iowa is, this is a huge hit on women’s health.
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Iowa Republican lawmakers agreed to cut millions of dollars in federal Medicaid money in order to create state-run family planning programs. That sounds all fine and dandy until you find out that it excludes clinics affiliated with abortion services or referrals. The new state-run family planning program is estimated to cost about $3 million.
According to the Iowa Department of Human Services, people would be automatically transferred to the new state-run program…as long as they don’t need abortion services.
Ironically enough, the state isn’t the one paying for abortions in Iowa, so cutting the funds in federal Medicaid money sounds like a moot point. However, many anti-abortion groups and Republicans claim that funding Planned Parenthood indirectly helps pay for abortion services.
Makes sense? Nope.
Defunding Planned Parenthood and adding further restrictions on abortions seems to be a long-standing dream for Iowa Republicans. In addition to funding cuts, they’ve also approved a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and added a 72-hour waiting period to get an abortion.
Give me a moment while I control my seething rage.
Ben Hammes, a spokesperson for Gov. Terry Branstad, claimed that the government would ensure that there are readily available family planning service across the state.
“The pro-life movement is making tremendous strides in changing the hearts and minds, to return to a culture that once again respects human life,” Hammes said.
How can you say you respect human life when you pull a stunt like this?