Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Planned Parenthood logo

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will close one-third of its Iowa clinics at the end of June, affecting more than 14,600 people, the women’s health provider said Thursday.

The clinic closures come after Republican legislators redirected Medicaid family planning dollars away from abortion providers starting July 1.

Planned Parenthood — which operates 12 clinics in Iowa — will close clinics in Sioux City, Burlington, Keokuk and the Quad Cities-Bettendorf.

All services will stop immediately starting June 30 at the Sioux City, Burlington and Keokuk health centers, while abortion services will continue at the Quad Cities health center until the building is sold, the organization said.

The decision comes after Gov. Terry Branstad last Friday approved the portion of the Health and Human Services budget that allocates $3.2 million in state funding for family planning services but excludes facilities that provide abortions from receiving the funds.

The budget discontinues a federal Medicaid waiver that, since its creation in 2006, has helped more than 80,000 Iowa women receive Pap smears, birth control and cancer screenings through the Iowa Family Planning Network, including more than 12,000 last year. The waiver helps extend reproductive health services to men and women who due to income often fall in the gap between private insurance and Medicaid eligibility.

“We are proud of the efforts of the Legislature approving more than $3.2 million for women’s health care clinics that do not perform abortions,” said Ben Hammes, the governor’s spokesman.

Planned Parenthood — which said loss of funding through the Family Planning Network amounted to about $2 million — administered services to more than 30,000 Iowans last year, with nearly 50 percent of its patients at or below the federal poverty level.

Abortions comprise only three percent of its total services. No state or federal dollars are used to fund abortions.

Republican legislators have argued the move will expand family planning services by freeing up funds and encouraging existing Medicaid providers to participate in the program. But Planned Parenthood and other supporters argue those providers don’t offer the same care can cannot accommodate its high volume of patients.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based reproductive health research organization, Planned Parenthood provided 80 to 96 percent of family planning services for patients accessing care at a publicly funded provider in 2015 in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City.

“It’s just not a good thing for the state,” Jodi Tomlonovic at the Family Planning Council. “And it’s not a good thing for Iowans who want and need family planning services. It’s going to have a real ramification in a number of ways — not just increased abortions, but increased STD rates. You only have to look to Texas to see what we’ll have here.”

Starting in 2011, Texas took steps to bar abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from participating in a program aimed at giving low-income women family planning services. It’s a move that, in the years following, research has shown hurt the state’s family planning safety net.


Load comments