Des Moines, IA– In recent weeks, Iowa lawmakers proposed several bills to restrict abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Those who rely on Medicaid to receive care at Planned Parenthood may no longer have that option.
Republican lawmakers seek to cut Medicaid reimbursements for clinics that provide abortions. Senate File 2 made it through the Iowa Senate and is pending right now in the Iowa House.
“I just feel like I would be at such a loss for information about my own body,” said Whitney Leming-Salisbury, who started going to Planned Parenthood after she started attending Drake University.
Leming-Salisbury said she relies on Medicaid to make her care more affordable. She originally used an oral contraceptive that cost her $50 a month, which she said Planned Parenthood made much more affordable.
Proponents for defunding Planned Parenthood have said they don’t want their taxes going to an organization that performs abortions.
“I think if you were to really look into Planned Parenthood you would find that all they’re really concerned about is abortion,” said Steven Jones, a resident of Des Moines.
In the past, pro-life advocates and Republicans have said there are plenty of places people can go to instead of Planned Parenthood for the same care.
“I really don’t believe Planned Parenthood (focuses on women’s health),” Jones said. “I’ve never actually heard somebody say, ‘I have a doctor’s appointment, I gotta go to Planned Parenthood.’ You should go to a good medical facility for something like that.”
Iowa Senator Brad Zaun provided a list to the media recently of alternative health centers. It included hospitals but also school nurse’s offices and dentists.
Leming-Salisbury said the care at Planned Parenthood can’t be found anywhere else.
“It just seems that Planned Parenthood is really unparalleled in their ability to provide care sans judgment. And that’s the most important thing to me,” said Leming-Salisbury.
Republicans have taken other steps to restrict access to abortion. Senate File 53, which passed a Senate committee, would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill’s counterpart did not make it out of the House committee.
Republicans also attempted to restrict abortions by defining life beginning at conception. However, that bill did not have enough support to advance.