Ad features three Iowa women whose health center will be forced to close this Friday

Washington, D.C. – This morning, Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a new TV ad to highlight the devastating consequences of blocking access to preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. The TV ad will air in the Washington, DC media market, and comes shortly after Senate Republican leadership delayed a vote on Trumpcare, which would also cut off access to preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide.

The ad features three Planned Parenthood patients from Burlington, Iowa whose health center will be forced to close this Friday due to a dangerous “defunding” law passed by the state’s legislature. This is one of four health centers that will close, leaving nearly 15,000 Iowans without their trusted health care provider of birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and other preventive care. The ad warns that the impact of “defunding” nationwide will be similar to what is occurring in Iowa.

The Iowa law is similar to the “defunding” measure being pushed in Congress that would bar Medicaid patients nationwide from going to Planned Parenthood health centers for preventive care. Every year, 2.4 million women, men, and young people rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health care services, like birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings – and more than half of them access that care through Medicaid.

Trumpcare is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. Trumpcare would single out Planned Parenthood by blocking women from accessing preventive health care at the trusted provider of their choice; slash Medicaid; and gut maternity coverage.

Just yesterday, a new Quinnipiac University poll showed that 80% of American voters oppose “defunding” Planned Parenthood, including 67% of Republicans. This support for the care Planned Parenthood provides has stayed consistent over time. In March of this year, a Quinnipiac poll also found that 80% of voters oppose so-called “defunding” Planned Parenthood.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

What’s happening now in Iowa is a preview of the devastation we’ll see nationwide if Congress ‘defunds’ Planned Parenthood as part of Trumpcare. If that happens, women across the country will be blocked from getting birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. As Senators go home for recess, they will hear loud and clear -- the people of America will not stand to see Planned Parenthood’s patients lose their access to health care.

View the full ad at this link.

Script of the ad:

Laura: If it wasn’t for Planned Parenthood I may not have had my daughter.

Phoebe: I need a place that can understand my mental illness.

Sara: They offer services that are affordable.

Laura: Right now in Iowa…

Sara: legislators are closing clinics.

Phoebe: Our lives are really affected by this.

Laura: I’d tell the legislators in Washington...

Sara: voting to defund Planned Parenthood, to think long and hard about it because…

Phoebe: this is our health care. I won’t have anywhere to go.

Narrator: Call your senators and tell them to protect access to the care women rely on.

Additional Background:

Because of a dangerous new law passed by the Republican-controlled Iowa legislature, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will be forced to close four health centers, leaving nearly 15,000 Iowans without access to their trusted provider of birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and other preventive care. It is clear that other health care providers in Iowa cannot meet the tremendous need for care without Planned Parenthood. In 2015, Planned Parenthood health centers in Iowa served nearly half of all female patients accessing contraception care at a publicly funded health center. In three out of the four counties with health centers closing, Planned Parenthood served 80-96 percent of the women accessing contraception at a publicly funded health center (Burlington, 96 percent; Keokuk, 92 percent; and Sioux City, 80 percent).

In 2011, the state of Texas did the very same thing and “defunded” Planned Parenthood. Two years later, nearly 30,000 fewer women received birth control, cancer screenings, and other care as a result. There was also a 27 percent increase in births among women who lost access to injectable contraception. The maternal mortality rate in Texas has doubled since 2010, coinciding with stringent funding cuts for women’s health care and “defunding” Planned Parenthood. Even more alarming, these rates are disproportionately high among Black women.

Blocking access to this care would be hardest on people who already face barriers to obtaining health care — especially people of color, young people, people with low to moderate incomes, and people who live in rural areas.  Many of Planned Parenthood’s patients would have nowhere else to turn for care, particularly those in rural areas and medically underserved areas. Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas.

In addition to being devastating for people’s health, blocking care at Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular. Seventy-seven percent of Iowans surveyed by the Des Moines Register -- including 62 percent of Iowa Republicans -- support funding for preventive care at Planned Parenthood. Iowans are in line with the majority of Americans on this. Eighty percent of Americans, including 67% of Republicans, oppose efforts to “defund” and cut off care at our health centers.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.