Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad used some of his last words as governor to urge state lawmakers to defund the abortion chain Planned Parenthood on Tuesday.
Branstad, who Donald Trump nominated as his ambassador to China, asked state lawmakers to redirect tax dollars away from groups that do abortions and toward comprehensive health centers, the Associated Press reports. Branstad’s remarks were part of his annual Condition of the State speech.
“This budget … redirects family planning money to organizations that focus on providing health care for women and eliminates taxpayer funding for organizations that perform abortions,” he said at the state Capitol.
Iowa House lawmakers passed a spending bill in 2016 to defund the abortion giant, but the Democrat-controlled state Senate did not pass the measure. A defunding plan appears more likely to pass in 2017 after Iowa voters elected Republican majorities to both houses, according to the AP.
A spokesperson for in-coming Gov. Kim Reynolds said she supports Branstad’s remarks.
The AP reported more about the defunding plan:
They plan to stop accepting federal Medicaid money that goes toward family planning services and instead replace it with state money for some of those services. It’s unclear how much a new state program would cost, though the issue may evolve if the new Republican Congress and President-elect Donald Trump change how Medicaid federal dollars are distributed.
Ben Hammes, Branstad’s spokesman, confirmed the governor supports a state-run program. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, also indicated support.
Rachel Lopez of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland released a statement Monday night criticizing the bill and arguing the legislation would hurt low-income women and men accessing family planning services through their organization.
As LifeNews previously reported, a 2015 public opinion poll conducted in Iowa found that the majority of the state’s residents support de-funding Planned Parenthood and sending government funding to legitimate health care clinics instead. The survey, commissioned by the pro-life legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, found that 69 percent of Iowans agree that taxpayers should not subsidize groups like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions.
Planned Parenthood receives about half a billion tax dollars every year and performs about one-third of all abortions (about 320,000 annually) in the U.S. Plans to defund the abortion chain are going on at the national level, too.
The effort to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups comes in response to a series of undercover videos showing the abortion business selling aborted babies’ body parts. Since the undercover videos revealed shocking and potentially illegal activity at Planned Parenthood, both state and federal lawmakers have introduced measures to end taxpayer funding to it and other abortion groups.
Women and families have numerous other options for health care if Planned Parenthood is defunded. In 2015, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Charlotte Lozier Institute reported there are 13,540 community health clinics providing whole-woman healthcare in the United States versus the 665 Planned Parenthood facilities, which offer only limited services including abortions.