Iowa legislature blocks Planned Parenthood from public grants


Hannah Olson / Iowa State Daily

Protestors hold signs that read, “I stand with Planned Parenthood,” and “Love, Respect, Equality,” during the Women’s March in Des Moines. Signs and speakers highlighted a variety of issues including LGBTQ+ rights, women’s healthcare and President Trump’s cabinet choices.

Jacob Smith

Planned Parenthood is now disallowed from receiving public grants from Iowa following a budget bill signed into law Friday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

The bill, HF 776, was passed by the House and the Senate earlier in April.

Planned Parenthood said this will block its ability to teach sexual education courses throughout Iowa’s public schools.

Erin Davison-Rippey, State Executive Director for Planned Parenthood in Iowa, claims that by blocking them from receiving grants it is a loss to the youth of Iowa.

“This is a huge loss to the thousands of youth who would benefit from comprehensive and nonjudgmental sex education—programs that help them understand what a healthy relationship is, practice personal responsibility, delay sexual activity and protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and STDs when they do become sexually active,” Davison-Rippey said. “Denying young people this information is denying them their human rights.”

Additionally in its statement, Planned Parenthood said that because of the increasing access to pregnancy prevention information, teen birth rates have dropped 20.3 percent and 37.1 percent in Polk and Dallas counties respectively from 2013 to 2017.

Republicans in the Legislature claim the bill is a way to reduce abortions.

Liz Mathis, D-Linn County, argued on the Senate floor that in order to reduce abortions there must be funding.

“We all want abortions reduced,” Mathis said. “Every last person in this Senate wants to see abortions reduced. How do you think abortions are reduced? Birth control, sex education — that’s how they are reduced.”

Sen. Mark Costello, R-Mill County, additionally made remarks about the bill on the Senate floor.

“As far as the sexual education, we are not getting rid of the program,” Costello said. “We’re just making it so abortion providers cannot participate in that program.”

Costello closed the debate by mentioning how he wants taxpayers to know he does consider it to be their money and that he wants to spend it wisely.

“While no amount of money will ever be enough to satisfy everything we want. This is a lot of money,” Costello said. “We deal with some issues; there’s things that we get passionate about, and we know that this budget directly impacts the lives of some of the most vulnerable Iowans in this state.”

Planned Parenthood claims that the most recent Iowa Poll showed that seven in 10 Iowans believe the Legislature should restore public funding already stripped from Planned Parenthood in 2017.

“It’s extremely disappointing to see Governor Reynolds and elected officials prioritize their own political agenda over the health and well-being of Iowa youth,” Davison-Rippey said. “Just as all people need access to contraception in order to prevent unintended pregnancy, young Iowans need access to education and resources to make healthy decisions and plan for the future.”