After Defunding Planned Parenthood, Iowa's Family Planning Services Decline by 73 Percent

Illustration for article titled After Defunding Planned Parenthood, Iowa's Family Planning Services Decline by 73 Percent
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New numbers from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services obtained by the Des Moines Register reveal that the state’s family-planning program is remarkably less effective at providing birth control than it was a year ago, before state lawmakers voted to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

According to the Register, Iowa’s family-planning program saw a 73 percent decrease in services provided between April and June 2018, compared to the same time period from the previous year. The Register also found that, in June 2018, there were fewer than half of the people enrolled in the family-planning program as there were in June 2017.

In June 2017, state lawmakers voted to ban organizations and clinics that provide abortion services from receiving funding, which meant the state lost out on $3 million in Medicaid. (Last year, Planned Parenthood also closed four clinics in Iowa after losing out on those federal funds.)

The changes to the family-planning program are simply one way Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature has worked to restrict abortion access in recent years. Although most Iowans believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, state lawmakers succeeded in passing thestrictest abortion ban in the U.S. in 2017. From the Register:

Under the legislation, physicians will be barred from performing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Experts said that heartbeat can be heard about six weeks into a pregnancy — often before a woman realizes she’s pregnant.

The constitutionality of “fetal heartbeat” law is currently being challenged and the law has been temporarily put on hold.

The chairman of the Iowa Council on Human Services has argued that increasing access to contraceptions should result in the need for fewer abortions. But Iowa’s family-planning program may be failing its residents on this very metric:

Critics have noted that the new program’s list of approved family planning providers contains listings for agencies that don’t offer contraception. For example, at least 74 of the 695 providers now listed are part of the Mercy health system, a Catholic organization with strict limits on contraception services.


A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland reiterated that it’s up to Iowa’s lawmakers to amend the problem they’ve created across the state. “They have an obligation to the people they serve to fix the mess they made,” Becca Lee told the Register.

Senior Writer, Jezebel



From the National Abortion Federation website:

Patients in Iowa under the age of 18 who have never been married must notify one parent at least 48 hours before obtaining an abortion. Patients who are NOT able to notify a parent can proceed through a process known as ‘judicial bypass.’”

And from Trump’s proposed 2019 budget (cuts):

“Eliminate nutrition assistance for 7700 pregnant women, new moms, babies, and toddlers in Iowa by cutting the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program by 13 percent in the final year of this budget”


Slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) by $213.5 billion, potentially eliminating nutrition assistance from 88,000 Iowans, 87 percent of whom live in households withat least one child, elderly person, or a person with a disability.”

This means that young people not only have fewer places to access affordable, confidential contraception, but there are additional barriers to getting an abortion if an unintended pregnancy occurs. Then when teens and adults are forced to have children they can’t afford, assistance programs designed to help are no longer available.

Iowa was the 3rd state to legalize marriage equality and used to be a bastion of moderate/liberal thought and policy. I know because I used to live there and work in repro health care.

Chuck Grassley is on the Budget Committee-- Iowans need to be blowing up his phone, email, office hours, meetings, everything.

So disappointed in my former home state.