Cedar Rapids, IA – As President Donald Trump visited Cedar Rapids today, he faced more than 300 protesters -- many of them Planned Parenthood patients and supporters with pink t-shirts and pink signs, braving a rainstorm, and calling on the president to protect their health care. The protest came shortly after, reportedly, a newly leaked bill showed that care at Planned Parenthood is on the chopping block in the Senate Trumpcare bill. The “defunding” measure would bar Medicaid patients from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and other care at Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide.
And Iowa is not alone. Tonight, Planned Parenthood patients and supporters rallied to "Pink the Night Out" nationwide at more than 60 events in over 20 states -- demanding the Senate reject efforts to prevent patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood.
Steps from the rally venue, as the sun set on Cedar Rapids, a nearby silo was emblazoned with a similar appeal in a 50-foot high message projected in pink: “Politicians in Iowa forced closure of 4 Planned Parenthood health centers / 14600+ people in Iowa will be blocked from care / Don’t let this happen nationwide / Call your senator now”
The Republican-controlled Iowa legislature recently passed a “defunding” law -- similar to the measure in “Trumpcare” -- that will force the closure of four Planned Parenthood health centers beginning on June 30, and leaving nearly 15,000 Iowans without access to their trusted health care provider. This is despite the fact that 77 percent of Iowans support funding for care at Planned Parenthood and that other health care providers in Iowa cannot meet the tremendous need for care without Planned Parenthood.
Statement from Suzanna M. de Baca, president of Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa:
“We know what happens when politicians cut off care at Planned Parenthood -- women suffer. The harsh reality is that, because of this dangerous law, there will be women who fall through the cracks and lose access to health care. This is not what Iowans want. While politicians may have abandoned women in Iowa, Planned Parenthood never will. We are not going anywhere, and we will leave no stone unturned to elect lawmakers who will fight alongside us for women’s health and rights in Iowa.”
Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“What’s happening in Iowa, alarmingly, could be a harbinger of what’s to come for women nationwide if Trumpcare is passed by the Senate. Right now, the Senate is working behind closed doors to jam through a bill that would that would block millions of women from getting birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. It would be devastating for women across the country. That’s why Planned Parenthood supporters and patients nationwide are organizing, speaking out, and calling on the Senate to protect their health care.”
The morning of Trump’s visit, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund posted an open letter in the Cedar Rapids Gazette inviting the president to visit a Planned Parenthood health center and learn more about the care at risk, warning: “What’s happening in Iowa is going to happen all over the U.S. if your health care repeal bill is signed into law. (Text of open letter and full page ad HERE.)
The Cedar Rapids protest was hosted by Indivisible Iowa. Co-sponsoring organizations include Americans for Democratic Action Iowa, Progress Iowa, Iowa Federation of Labor, Women's March Iowa, Action Iowa, University of Iowa Dream Iowa, Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa (PPVI), and Iowans for Public Education.
Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with the mission of fostering and preserving a social and political climate favorable to reproductive health and to protect reproductive choice. To meet this mission, PPVI engages in lobbying, issues education and supporter mobilization.
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.