Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to Close Four Clincs

The Planned Parenthood of the Heartland is closing four affiliates, saying it's a direct result of new legislation signed into law last week to defund the agency.

The clinic closures come at a crucial time for women seeking access to reproductive health care in the USA, and particularly in Iowa. Four Planned Parenthood clinics in the state are closing.

The Iowa Legislature's decision to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood is limiting women's health care choices, Democratic candidate for governor Todd Prichard said in a stop in Davenport on Friday. In the process, both states gave up millions of dollars of federal funding and set up their own state-run family planning programs.

Planned Parenthood is planning to sell the building now housing the soon-to-be-closed Albuquerque Nob Hill clinic and use that money to build a "flagship family planning center" in the city sometime in the near future.

The state is asking the Trump administration for nearly half a billion dollars that it would have received half a decade ago if it had acknowledged Planned Parenthood.

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"And trying to replace them in the network is very hard, especially in rural states", Jodi Tomlonovic, the executive director of the Family Planning Council of Iowa, told the Intercept in February.

"We're seeing major changes in the landscape of reproductive health care", said Whitney Phillips, the senior director of strategic communications and marketing for Planned Parenthood. Iowa's largest abortion provider still has clinics in Ames, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines (two locations), Iowa City, and Urbandale.

Antiabortion groups celebrated the news that the clinics would shutter and suggested that other health centers could absorb the patients. Plus, Tomlonovic wondered, "Is it going to take us six weeks to get you in ... for what we consider very time-sensitive services?" They're hoping to offer abortion services there by this summer and are preparing to submit related applications to the state for the Joplin and Springfield sites. "For many Iowans, Planned Parenthood is the only access they have to health care services, and forcing these clinics to close will only mean families will have less access to basic medical services". Chris Hall and Rep. Tim Kacena called the closing of the Sioux City clinic "troubling", saying it means almost 5,000 women in the area will "lose access to critical health care services like cancer screenings and birth control".

"We have a lot of people who are low-income", Planned Parenthood communications manager Shaya Torres said. "As more people have become involved in the discussion, they've come to the realization that life begins at conception".

  • Alfonso Moody