UPDATE - June 22, 2017
Donald Trump is set to visit Iowa Wednesday evening for a campaign-style rally. We’ve challenged the President to visit a Planned Parenthood health center during his visit so he can see first hand the devastating consequences of attacking Planned Parenthood.. Here in Iowa, after Governor Terry Branstad signed a dangerous law forcing four Planned Parenthood of the Heartland health centers to close, more than 14,600 women will lose the care they rely on.
Trump’s visit comes as the Senate is set to vote on his secretive health care bill that could be a disaster for women’s health. If Republicans get their way, the same devastating consequences we saw in Iowa could happen nationwide. If Trump’s dangerous health care bill passes, millions of Americans could lose their health care and people of color, those with low incomes, and folks in rural areas would be hit the hardest.
Tell them you’re a part of the 77% of Iowans who oppose defunding care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
Past Efforts at “Defunding” Led to Loss of Care — Yet Affordable Care Act Repeal Would Take Defunding Nationwide
A dangerous new Iowa law signed by Governor Terry Branstad will force four Planned Parenthood of the Heartland health centers to close, leaving more than 14,600 patients without the health care they depend on. Residents of the Quad Cities, Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City have lost an irreplaceable provider of family planning care; in three out of the four counties with health centers closing, Planned Parenthood served 80% or more of the patients accessing family-planning care at a publicly funded provider in 2015.
This is the future Congress wants to bring to patients nationwide: closed health centers, and lost access to needed health care. Portions of the Iowa law resemble the bill known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House earlier this month and is now under consideration by the Senate. Language in the AHCA would prohibit all Medicaid patients — more than half of the millions who turn to Planned Parenthood each year for care — from getting basic services such as cancer screenings, birth control, annual checkups, and STD testing and treatment from Planned Parenthood health centers, leaving many with nowhere else to turn for care.
The measure signed by Branstad blocks access to care at Planned Parenthood through Iowa’s family planning program: birth control, cancer screenings, and other family planning care. Planned Parenthood health centers in Iowa served nearly half of all patients accessing family planning care at a publicly funded provider in 2015 — and served 4,000 of the more than 12,000 people who received care through the state’s Medicaid family planning waiver program in 2016.
We know what happens when so-called “defunding” measures such as what Branstad signed in Iowa become law. For patients, the results have been abysmal.
In Texas, Defunding Led to Lost Care
Texas “defunded” Planned Parenthood in 2011. Two years later, nearly 30,000 fewer women were receiving birth control, cancer screenings, and other care — and the Dallas Morning News reported that “the areas with the highest drops in the number of women served by [the program] occurred in areas where Planned Parenthood clinics shuttered.”
Among Texas women who lost access to injectable contraception, births increased by 27%.
Since 2010, the maternal mortality rate in Texas has doubled.
This coincides with sharp cuts in funding for women’s health care and the move to block patient access to Planned Parenthood.
And maternal mortality rates among Black women are at disproportionately high levels.
Efforts by Texas officials to recreate the services patients were blocked from seeking at Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, have fallen well short. Showing just how inept Texas lawmakers are, the state granted of over a million dollars to an anti-abortion group. Yes, you read that right. Unsurprisingly, the group yielded “little to show,” according to the Associated Press. “The nonprofit has done little of the outreach it promised,” according to a March 2017 story. “It hasn’t made good on plans to establish a 1-800 number to help women find providers or ensure that all clinics have updated websites.”
The leader of the organization that received the grant excused its failure, telling an interviewer, “It’s not as easy as it looks because we are not Planned Parenthood.”
In Iowa, A Troubled Public Health Track Record
In Iowa, the just-signed law isn’t the only way that Branstad has targeted Iowans’ access to health care. The harm done to many Iowans after the state’s privatization of Medicaid shows why patients should take lawmakers’ assurances about finding other sources of care with deep skepticism.
In an April op-ed, the state’s largest newspaper castigated Gov. Branstad over “problems caused by his privatization of Medicaid”:
Low-income Iowans report losing health services. Providers are not being paid by managed care companies. The origins of the governor’s “savings” estimates remain a mystery. Taxpayers don’t understand why they’re bailing out for-profit insurers contracted with the state.
Rather than remedy the loss of health services for Iowans reliant on Medicaid, Branstad sparked the paper’s ire by “sending out a press release containing wildly inaccurate information to boost a claim of ‘success.’”
This is yet another example of what happens to people’s health care access when lawmakers make decisions based on politics, not what’s best for constituents’ health and well-being.
Call your Senator
With the “defund” law, Iowa lawmakers have again put politics ahead of their constituents’ health. Yet even as thousands of Iowans face the loss of their health-care provider of choice, Congress is still considering “defunding” Planned Parenthood nationwide. As the Guttmacher Institute confirmed in research released in mid-May: Ending access to Planned Parenthood would be devastating, and leave millions of people with nowhere else to go for essential health care. Fight back to stop Congress from imposing that vision on the rest of America.
Tell your Senator that attacks on Planned Parenthood will not be tolerated.