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Des Moines, IA — Sexual assault survivors in Iowa continue to go without state paid emergency contraceptives more than a year after recently elected Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird, a Republican, called for an audit of the program and halted payments for care.  

Bird’s office has confirmed it has a completed draft of the victim services audit, but it remains delayed by “senior staff” in Bird’s office who haven’t signed off on its release. The attorney general halted payments Jan. 1, 2023. Bird has used the audit to justify stopping the program, going against the longstanding practice for the Attorney General’s office to pay for emergency contraceptives and, in rare cases, abortion care for sexual assault survivors.  

“It’s absolutely deplorable that sexual assault survivors in Iowa have gone more than a year without state-covered emergency contraceptives—all because of politics,” said Mazie Stilwell, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. “These are vulnerable Iowans who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, instead of facing unnecessary barriers erected by politicians who are hellbent on taking away Iowans’ fundamental rights one policy at a time. These are real people whose lives and futures are affected. We deserve better from the politicians elected to represent us.” 

As of August last year—the most recently reported figures from Bird’s office—more than 160 reimbursement requests for emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors were pending approval from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office as Bird’s review of the program hit its five-month mark.    

The backlog of requests for Crime Victim Compensation Funds at that time totaled approximately $7,500 and is nearly double what it was weeks after Bird’s office put reimbursement for sexual assault survivors on hold. The reimbursement requests came from hospitals and pharmacies across the state, with several dating as far back as 2020. One includes a case of child abuse.   

  Crime Victim Compensation Funds are not funded with taxpayer dollars but, instead, money from criminal penalties and fees. Bird recently indicated she intends to permanently end spending the funds on emergency contraception and abortion care during a PBS television interview.      

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Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa (PPAI) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission of fostering and preserving a social and political climate favorable to reproductive health. To meet this mission, PPAI engages in lobbying, issues education, and supporter mobilization. 

  

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