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Four Planned Parenthood clinics close in Iowa

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The Cedar Rapids Planned Parenthood Health Center, shown Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. — photo by Lauren Shotwell

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced this week they will close clinics in the Quad Cities, Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City as a result of funding cuts passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Terry Branstad.

The four clinics that are closing constitute one third of Planned Parenthood’s health centers in the state. Suzanna de Baca, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, wrote in a fundraising pitch after the news broke that the closures would affect over 14,000 patients.

“Anti-choice politicians — who are driven by their personal beliefs, not facts — are hurting women by preventing us from being able to provide critical family planning services and life-saving cancer screenings,” de Baca wrote.

Despite facing a $131 million budget shortfall this year, Iowa lawmakers decided to forgo $3 million in federal funding by discontinuing the federal Medicaid family planning waiver. Instead Iowa will recreate it’s own family planning network at a cost to the state of $3.3 million (a significant increase from the $300,000 in state funding that went to the previous program) in order to prohibit any funding going to clinics that provide abortions.

Under the Hyde Amendment, federal Medicaid funds cannot be used to pay for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the woman’s life.

“Certainly the lawmakers responsible for that legislation are fully aware that none of that money goes to abortion services, and all of it goes to family planning services for poor people. They know that. They don’t care,” Planned Parenthood spokesperson Rachel Lopez said in an interview before Branstad signed the appropriations bill.

The decision to defund came despite a recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll that showed 77 percent of adult Iowans surveyed supported continued state funding for services other than abortions at Planned Parenthood.


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