Iowa state Senators voted 30-20 on Thursday to defund the abortion business Planned Parenthood and redirect tax dollars to comprehensive health clinics.
The Quad-City Times reports the legislators passed Senate File 2, which sets aside $3 million in state money to fund women’s health centers that do not perform or advocate for abortions.
The bill moves to the state House where it appears likely to pass. Gov. Terry Branstad said he supports the bill.
The Courier reports Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Iowa received about $1 million taxpayer dollars through Medicaid in 2016.
To defund abortion groups, the bill would stop state participation in the Medicaid family planning program and create a new state-funded program that would give money health care groups that do not do abortions, according to the report. Money to fund the program would come from a federal block grant for child and family services, the report states.
State Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, who sponsors the bill, said Senate File 2 could improve access to health care for rural women and families.
“There are zero Planned Parenthood clinics in [her local district],” she noted. “And I would suggest that is true for many other rural Senate districts as well. So anyone in my district would have to drive to one of those clinics, all located in urban areas, to access care for their needs under the current system.”
Iowa Senate Democrats, however, claimed the bill would “gut” family planning services in the state, according to the report.
“I’ve never seen such a horrible bill come before this body. This bill is taking us back to the Middle Ages,” state Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, said Thursday as lawmakers debated the bill.
Iowans for LIFE maintains the bill will provide Iowa women with better options for their health care needs. Planned Parenthoods offer only limited services. They do not do mammograms, and very few offer prenatal care. Abortion, however, is big business for Planned Parenthood. Nationally, the group does about 320,000 abortions a year, about one third of all the abortions in the U.S.
“The bill will not leave women unable to find quality health care and in fact will offer them more choices,” according an email from the pro-life group. “As these mothers know, all women, including low income women, deserve a health care center that offers all their health care needs.”
Iowans for LIFE is asking pro-lifers to contact their state legislators to urge them to support the bill.
“These courageous Senators and Representatives are working hard for life and we need to show our support,” the group said in an email.