Planned Parenthood to close 4 Iowa clinics after funding cut

Cheryl Sanders
May 19, 2017

Planned Parenthood clinics make up 6 percent of the 10,700 safety-net family planning providers in the USA, but they serve 32 percent of all patients who rely on the free or low-priced birth control these providers offer. Clinics in Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City will shut down June 30. As a result, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which operates clinics in Iowa and Nebraska, will reportedly lose $2 million in funding.

Local affiliate Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said Thursday the closings will reduce its facilities in the state that provide abortions from eight to five.

Under federal law, Medicaid beneficiaries are entitled to "free choice of provider", which means states can not exclude Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from family planning programs that operate using Medicaid dollars. With the program gone and a third of the state's Planned Parenthood clinics closing, those individuals may lose access to affordable health care.

Planned Parenthood is planning to sell the building now housing the soon-to-be-closed Albuquerque Nob Hill clinic and use that money to build a "flagship family planning center" in the city sometime in the near future.

Planned Parenthood of IN and Kentucky is suing over a new IN law that makes it tougher for girls under age 18 to get an abortion without their parents knowledge. This year, they also approved a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and added a 72-hour waiting period to get an abortion.

ACLU of IN legal director Ken Falk, representing Planned Parenthood, says that provision should be halted. Texas, in 2011, took similar action and created a family planning program.

The cut was part of the state's roughly $7.2 billion budget, which was approved recently by outgoing Gov. Terry Branstad. The complaint contends those portions violate the U.S. Constitution's due process and equal protection provisions, and the First Amendment.

Ben Hammes, a spokesman for the governor, cited data he claims will ensure there are family planning services "in every corner of the state". When he signed the legislation into law, Holcomb said he saw it as a "parental rights issue".

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