Todd Prichard: Taking away Planned Parenthood funding wrong move

Planned Parenthood ACLU challenge new Indiana abortion law File

The measure overturns a regulation finalized at the end of the President Obama administration that explicitly stops states from denying federal Title X family planning funds to clinics, like Planned Parenthood, that also provide abortion services.

The clinic closures come at a crucial time for women seeking access to reproductive health care in the US, and particularly in Iowa. The state opted, instead, to allocate $3.3 million to "recreate its own family planning network so that it can prohibit the funding of clinics that provide abortions", per the Des Moines Register.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said it will continue to operate eight clinics in Iowa.

Three of the clinics the Planned Parenthood affiliate will close are in New Mexico.

The locations served by those four Planned Parenthood clinics represent both sides of the state, and some of its most densely populated communities.

A few weeks ago, Prichard said that, if elected, he would seek to reverse the legislature's decision to significantly reduce collective bargaining rights for public workers, but, in this case, he said he believes it would take an act of the legislature to reverse the decision on how to fund family planning programs in the state.

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"Due to the switch to a state-run program, funding and access to women's health services will be more readily available to providers in rural areas rather than concentrated in Iowa's largest cities".

Planned Parenthood serves about 30 percent of those enrolled in the state's Medicaid family planning waiver program. Planned Parenthood receives roughly $400m every year for providing up to one and a half million patients with family planning care.

"And trying to replace them in the network is very hard, especially in rural states", Jodi Tomlonovic, the executive director of the Family Planning Council of Iowa, told the Intercept in February. Most facilities are slated to be shut down June 30, though the Bettendorf center will be open for several more months amid staffing logistics. "They primarily provide services related to abortion". "However, the harsh reality is that, despite all our efforts, there will be women who fall through the cracks and lose access to health care because of this risky legislation".

A spokesperson from the organization says defunding at the state level has forced the closures, leaving more than 14,000 Iowans without access to certain services.

No state dollars are used to pay for abortions in Iowa, though anti-abortion groups and Republicans have argued that giving money to Planned Parenthood indirectly helps pay for the medical procedures.

"I'm sure that Gov. Branstad, Lt. Governor (Kim) Reynolds and legislative Republicans are celebrating the closing of these clinics", said Sen. And they do so without taking the life of precious human beings.

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