Iowa’s governor, Terry Branstad, told legislators earlier this month that he supports removing state funding for Planned Parenthood and re-channelling the funds to alternative groups. But what would this mean for women set to lose their primary health care provider?
Several top Republican lawmakers who support Branstad’s plans have said there are a whole host of alternative health clinics women can go to, aside from Planned Parenthood — clinics that do not provide abortions and to which they would, therefore, be happy for federal money to be re-directed. State Senator Brad Zaun told local TV news station KCCI that “there are clinics all over the state of Iowa that provide the same services.”
Unfortunately, KCCI in Des Moines has found that several of these “alternative clinics” do not provide reproductive medical care and screenings for women — in fact, far from it. One “clinic” at Scavo Alternative High School is actually the school nurse’s office, and another clinic located at 12th St. and University Ave. is a dentist’s office. A third clinic listed is the Central Iowa Shelter and Services, a homeless shelter.
In response, Planned Parenthood spokesperson Rachel Lopez told KCCI, “I find it absurd that the governor’s office is saying that these organizations can absorb our patients. They simply can’t.”
“This really is playing dangerous political games with the healthcare of some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Iowa currently receives more than $3 million in federal Medicaid funding to be spent on family planning services and a proportion of this money is tied to Planned Parenthood. However, not a penny of Iowa tax dollars or federal tax dollars has been spent on abortion care services. Republican politicians are, Lopez said, misinformed.