Iowa Senate Advances Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Senate advanced a bill on Thursday that would defund the abortion and contraception giant Planned Parenthood.

Senate File 2, was introduced by Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, and requires that family planning funds only be provided to health centers that do not perform abortions.

“The Department of Human Services shall discontinue the Medicaid family planning network waiver effective July 1, 2017, and shall instead establish a state family planning services program,” it reads in part.

“Distribution of family planning services program funds shall be made to … [p]ublic entities that provide family planning services including state, county, or local community health clinics and federally qualified health centers,” the bill outlines. “Distribution of family planning services program funds shall not be made to any entity that performs abortions or that maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.”

It does not prohibit funds from going to organizations that conduct abortions when the mother’s life is stated to be in danger.

According to the Des Moines Register, debate over the matter lasted for over two hours, with some legislators expressing ardent objection. Planned Parenthood supporters also stood in the capitol building, wearing pink.

“The real purpose of this bill is to punish Planned Parenthood because they provide services to women seeking legal access to an abortion,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City. “What is ironic about Senate File 2 is that it will result in thousands of unplanned pregnancies and many, many more abortions.”

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Sinclair disagreed.

“We are not closing clinics, nor prohibiting their legal activity. Women will not go without exams or care or screening. They will just receive those services where they live,” she said. “This change will allow Iowa to restrict government funding to family planning services away from organizations that perform abortions that are not medically necessary.”

The bill ultimately advanced 30-20, mostly along party lines, and now moves to the House for a vote. Gov. Terry Brandstad says that he is supportive of the move and would sign the legislation if it makes it to his desk.

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds likewise believes the state can balance its interests.

“We believe that we can provide the core services as well as make sure that taxpayer dollars don’t go toward clinics that provide abortions,” she told reporters.

As previously reported, in an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia Dr. Hugh Lennox Hodge explained that if a woman were to come to a medical doctor in pursuit of an abortion, “he must, as it were, grasp the conscience of his weak and erring patient and let her know in language not to be misunderstood that she is responsible to her Creator for the life of the being within her.”

“So low, gentleman, is the moral sense of community on this subject. So ignorant are even the greater number of individuals, that even mothers in many instances shrink not at the commission of this crime, but will voluntarily destroy their own progeny, in violation of every natural sentiment, and in opposition to the laws of God and man,” he said.

“The procuring abortion is ‘a base and unmanly act,’” Hodge also said, quoting in part text from a court ruling of his day. “It is a crime against the natural feelings of man, against the welfare and safety of females, against the peace and prosperity of society, against the divine command ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ It is murder.”

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