WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Votes is launching its first TV ad in Iowa this week, highlighting U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst’s dangerous and out-of-touch record on women’s health. The ad, part of a $450,000 buy, will air in the Des Moines market and is part of the Women are Watching advocacy and political campaign to elect pro-women’s health candidates and comes on the heels of buys in Colorado and North Carolina last week. The ad features real Iowa women reacting to Joni Ernst’s positions on birth control, safe and legal abortion and funding for the preventive care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide to one in five women in her lifetime.

You can watch the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv5rCSWVAyI

“The stakes are high for Iowa women in this year’s Senate race, where women’s health champion Bruce Braley is running against Joni Ernst, a steadfast opponent of policies that would help women and their families get ahead,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president, Planned Parenthood Votes. “The bottom line is that Joni Ernst doesn’t trust women to make their own health care decisions and women can’t afford to have her in the Senate. We’ll make sure that Iowa voters know the stark contrast between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst when it comes to issues important to women’s health.”

“The reality is that when voters hear the facts about Joni Ernst's record and agenda for women’s health, they’re appalled,” said Penny DickeyPlanned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC.  “As a state senator, Joni Ernst has pursued an outdated agenda that would set women and our families back. She wants to deny Iowa women access to Planned Parenthood health centers, ban safe and legal abortion and let bosses decide if women have access to affordable birth control, the very thing that can prevent unintended pregnancy in the first place. Our message is clear: women are watching and we’ll be voting this November.”

The ad captures Iowa women discussing Joni Ernst’s record and one woman saying, “Wow, I had no idea her record was this bad.” It continues with a series of women saying: “Joni Ernst thinks my boss should decide if I have access to birth control. Who is she to interfere in these decisions?”; “It really bothers me that Joni Ernst would vote to defund Planned Parenthood”; “Joni Ernst is against safe and legal abortion”; “I remember when abortion was illegal.  We can’t go back to that time again.” It ends with two women saying, “Bottom line, Joni Ernst just doesn’t trust women, and I don’t trust Joni Ernst to be our next senator.”

There is a clear contrast between U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley and Iowa State Senator Joni Ernst when it comes to women’s health and rights. Bruce Braley has a 100% rating on the Planned Parenthood Action Fund congressional scorecard.

JONI ERNST: OUT OF TOUCH WITH IOWA WOMEN AND FAMILIES

Won’t stand up for a woman’s access to no-copay birth control: Ernst co-sponsored legislation that would allow bosses at companies like Hobby Lobby to deny their employees health insurance benefits, including contraception, based on the employer’s religious beliefs. Ernst wants to force women to go back to the days of paying up to $600 more a year, by taking away their access to no-copay birth control. She also supports the deeply unpopular Hobby Lobby ruling despite 68% of women voters who say that politicians who support the Hobby Lobby decision are out of touch with them and their everyday lives.  [Iowa S.F. 2153, 2/12/14; joniforiowa.com; Hart Research Associates,7/25/14]

Wants to go back to the days when insurance companies could charge women more for health care coverage: Ernst has pledged her opposition to the Affordable Care Act and voted against Medicaid expansion in Iowa. She wants to go back to the days when women paid more for health insurance and insurance companies could once again charge women more for their coverage and classify pregnancy as a “pre-existing condition.”  She would repeal the women’s preventive services benefit, which is already allowing 305,000 Iowa women to access health care, including birth control without a copay. [joniforiowa.comDes Moines Register, 10/23/13; HHS, 6/27/14]

Would deny Iowa women and families access to Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services: As a state senator, Ernst voted to defund Planned Parenthood — denying women access to Planned Parenthood health centers’ lifesaving preventive care services, like cancer screenings and STI testing, that serve millions of women, men and young people across the country. According to the Guttmacher Institute, for every dollar spent on family planning, nearly $6 in public money is saved. [Iowa S-3172 to S.F. 446, 4/18/13Guttmacher Institute, August 2014]

Would impose her extreme beliefs about abortion on women and their families: She has sponsored two amendments to prohibit state funding for abortion, interfering with women’s personal medical decision making and unfairly affecting women and families struggling to make ends meet. [Des Moines Register, 4/19/12Iowa S-5206 to S.F. 2336, 4/12/12Iowa S-3044 to S.F. 399, 3/19/13]

Co-sponsored extreme and dangerous so-called “personhood” efforts that would ban abortion: Ernst was a co-sponsor of a “personhood” joint resolution to the Iowa state constitution, an extreme and dangerous effort that would grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg and could interfere with personal, private medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion. These efforts, which have been rejected by voters at the polls in states across the country, including two times in Colorado by more than 70 percent of voters, are dangerous and out of touch. [Des Moines Register, 4/25/13]

Is against raising minimum wage, which would help reduce poverty among women and families struggling to make ends meet: She wants to abolish the national minimum wage. She has said that minimum wage jobs are "introductory level" positions and eventually workers should progress into better paying jobs as they acquire more skills. Yet there are almost 4.8 million working mothers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase, helping to pull many families out of poverty. Increasing the minimum wage would also make progress toward closing the gender wage gap. In Iowa, there is a $10,000 yearly gap between men and women who work full time in the state. [PolitiFact, 7/29/14YouTube, 4/24/14National Women's Law Center, 3/28/14National Partner]